Case Studies

genealogy lost

Is your genealogy lost in the jungle?

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Genealogy lost? Maybe not

Records of daily life are the compass pointing you in the right direction.
genealogy lostIs your genealogy lost in the jungle? When you started doing your family history did you feel completely lost in a tangle of past research, not knowing what direction the previous researcher was going, or where they came from?

We recently experienced this problem when working with a new client on their family tree. They wanted us to begin with a 3rd great grandfather, Sven Strutz, who was supposedly born somewhere in Sweden in 1785. They knew the names of his children and grandchildren, but didn’t want us to pursue those people because they already “knew” that information. So there we were. “X” marked the spot on the pedigree “map” where the family line ended, but we didn’t know how the previous researchers got there, or where they were going. Jungle growth had covered up the genealogical trail.

Fortunately, we were able to discuss this situation with our client and explain the importance of discovering and uncovering this elusive trail of previous research which had been conducted years before through correspondence. We were now able with modern technology and new resources to confirm the earlier studies and add to it with a broader scope of information made up of newer available digital documents and microfilmed records.

Most importantly, at the conclusion of our research, we provided a written report summary of our findings with documentation of our research efforts including cited evidence that future generations of researchers could use to see our genealogical trail and where it was going.

Genealogy Research is like Treasure Island

Do you remember reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson? It told of gold and silver buried on a deserted island that was identified with a treasure map. That map was illustrated with both clues and false leads. If fortunate in reading this guide, a person could be led directly to a chest of jewels and doubloons. But if the reader was not careful, a false lead could redirect them in the wrong direction and even into dangerous traps.

Genealogy research is very much like “Treasure Island.” Pedigree charts and family group sheets made by others are the treasure maps that we follow. But the information found on these charts, are the results of past research that first must be verified and documented or we may be led away from our treasure. When that happens, we have to retrace our steps on our “pedigree family maps” until we find out where the weakness in our information was, and begin again from that secure point.

And that is exactly what we did to find the treasure of family history for our Strutz client. On the Strutz family we located the children of Sven Strutz in Tolg Parish, Sweden. We learned that Sven was a cavalryman stationed in the parish much like a local policeman. But careful reconstruction of his family through parish records revealed two children born prior to his marriage to Christin Charlotte Pettersdatter (Eckdahl), implying a previous marriage. Now we are in search of the births of those two children and that first marriage, which along with military records, we hope will lead us to the origins of Sven Strutz.

Never be afraid to retrace your steps when following a pedigree family map. In doing so some of the landmarks revealed in the documents become familiar, and can spark new ideas and concepts about the genealogy research.

Picking Up the Trail After 30 Years

In another similar case, I was asked to pick up on a project I had researched thirty years ago. I didn’t remember the problem at all, and so was lost in a jungle of earlier research. By reviewing the reports from those early efforts I was able to get us out of the family tree maze and back on the trail quickly. In the many years since that earlier study, new abstracted publications have been added to library bookshelves, plus a whole new world of online digital records has come about, which greatly benefitted this new research effort; and clues began to appear in our hunt for ancestral treasure.

I formulated a new timeline for this colonial ancestor after discovering details about his first appearance in America, as being a militia soldier, and then in managing a tavern. These everyday clues were not primary birth, death, or marriage events, but they told us about his association with events of history, and how he related to people around him. Each piece of the puzzle drew us closer to learning about the origins of this ancestor and his family. Each clue on his family map led us closer to the treasure we were seeking. We now knew where we had been and had a clear direction for future research.

Out of the Jungle

To get out of the jungle, we must always remember that ancestors lived normal lives. That means they conducted business, raised families, suffered illnesses, participated in wars, and experienced calamities. Each of these aspects of life resulted in records being kept. As we study and search for the treasures found through our family group sheets and pedigree charts, we need to imagine what was happening in the lives of our ancestors and consider what types of records they may have recorded in the process.

Our ancestors were farmers, cattlemen, shoemakers, blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters, doctors, lawyers, ministers, and a host of other professions. Many jobs required some level of education, and ancestors may have belonged to guilds that monitored skilled training. Some occupations required licensing, recorded by the county clerk. Our ancestors were members of churches which were more than just religious institutions; they were also social centers in the community. They also joined other social groups such as lodges or societies of one sort or another. Ancestry is found in all of this ordinary living.

This day to day living of our ancestors resulted in records, which are the clues we need to identify and cite on our family maps. Then as we continue to explore and research our family tree in the future, they will help us find and uncover the precious information we are seeking.

The jungle of life surrounds all of us, but we must not be afraid to venture out with the modern tools available in genealogy today and follow our pedigree family maps. With them we must access and verify previous research and documentation, create timelines, and write summary reports of our research findings with cited evidence. And as we backtrack where and when we need to, clear the trails and uncover the hazards, we will find our treasure, our Ancestors.

James W. Petty, AG, CG, is the Board-Certified and Accredited Professional Genealogist, “Climbing the Family Tree Professionally, since 1969”. He is President of HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy, Inc. (www.Heirlines.com), the “Salt Lake City, Utah BBB Accredited Business” trusted professional genealogy research services firm, providing US and International genealogical and historical research for a world-wide clientele.

For Heirlines-Quality professional genealogy services, resources, and products including expert family tree research, LDS family history assistance, and answers to genealogy questions, please see Heirlines website www.Heirlines.com, and blog Heirlinesprofessionalgenealogy.com. For more genealogy and family history help and advice, please follow James W Petty, AG, CG and Heirlines Family History & Genealogy on Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

Heirlines: We professionally identify and document ancestry and kinship relationships and verify and certify the family tree with Certified Family Trees™ and Certified Forensic Genealogy Solutions™. We’re ready when you’re ready!

genealogy viral

Taking your genealogy viral!

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Taking Genealogy Viral. We live in the best of times for doing genealogy in the 21st century!

Photoxpress_9304992When it comes to doing genealogy, there are days I wish I could be Superman. You know, “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!” Think what a genealogist could do with such super powers!

In 2005 when I had my first open heart surgery and I knew that my heart was going to be disconnected, I decided to try a “Hugh Nibley” and so I made a plan for my surgery. While I was out, I would ask the powers that be on the other side of the veil, “Who was Hubert Petty, that elusive Jamestowne Ancestor of mine?

Now, I did dream about him while I was in that ether-land, and I actually woke up thinking about a Theophilus Petty of Featherstone, England who had lived in Barbados in the 1650’s about the time of our Hubert Petty. While my dream hasn’t led anywhere yet in the past 8 years, except for a fabulous time doing research in the Caribbean, many times since then I have considered, “Oh, if I could just be Superman for a day in my family history work! But I haven’t given up on finding Hubert Petty. Why?

We live in the best of times for doing genealogy in the 21st Century!

This is not a pipe-dream today for any of us involved in family history. We live in the best of times for doing genealogy. Climbing the Family Tree of Man is easier now in the 21st Century genealogist than it has ever before; and, you don’t have to budget millions to find success. Recently I met a man, John Kuzmich, Jr., who is doing such superman-like research on a retired teacher’s budget. As the clarion call rings out “We are all enlisted” so goes the mighty band of happy warriors in the Family History Army of John Kuzmich, Jr as his VIP Team have taken their genealogy viral!

John’s “one man’s quest for his Eastern European roots” has gone from a 38 year-long solo journey to an explosion on his family tree as he has been joined by a vast brigade of fellow seekers from across the globe during these past 5 years. United in their pursuit of their common ancestry, they are successfully discovering ancestry and climbing the family tree. We all can take a page from his superman-genealogy research book and learn how to speed up the discovery process, competently determine ancestry, and make successful leaps in brick wall research. How has he done it?

The Yellow Brick Road

John and crew have taken the yellow brick road that is paved with the gold of discovery that everyone wants in their family history work, because they have embraced the Internet and modern technology. They have left behind yesteryear’s snail-mail and cubby-hole genealogy research, for today’s engaged, world-wide, cyberspace social media connections where they are experiencing unparalleled success and opportunities for finding genealogical treasure. They have left old school and taken technology to turning hearts!

On a retired school bandleader’s pension, John Kuzmich and fellow genealogists have taken their personal genealogy effort to a level rarely seen in our world of virtual communities and networks. Employing networking collaboration technology and full-scale use of Internet blogging, photo galleries, podcasting, web pages, social networks, videoconferencing and other web-tools, this one man’s army is identifying and documenting and linking together their varied branches of the Family Tree of Man. As they do extensive family history extraction work on their Eastern European family lines, they are indexing records, abstracting documents, cataloguing resources and creating innovative family tree data bases from these collaborative efforts and going through the dead- ends and over the brickwalls of their genealogy.

John and his family historians are experiencing the miracles and blessings of hearts turning to their fathers. And they are willing to share with all what they know about using these modern tools, technology and resources as they unitedly pursue their common heritage, expanding both his genealogy and theirs, and for cousins yet unknown. And we can be inspired to do likewise by following their example.

Learn more about John Kuzmich, Jr., his genealogy and his Eastern European resources

To learn more about John and his journey, his genealogy and his Eastern European resources, read his Mormon.org Testimony; and then see his KuzmichGenealogy Blog and MajcGenealogy. Check out John’s “ Secrets of Networking Collaboration Technology as a Viral Avenue for Enhancing Family History Research” and his how to “Utilize the Internet to Promote Your Genealogy Easier Through Blogging, Photo Galleries, Podcasting, Web Pages, Social Networks, Videoconferencing and Other Web-tools.” Learn about and then use the many Eastern European resources they have gathered for his VIP Extraction Team effort and see how you, too, can bring people together from across the globe to accomplish this great work in your family history.

Then climb the John Kuzmich Jr.’s family tree. You might even be related! Contact him and see! Here is a list of his family names:

• Meet the Kuzmich/Basalyga Family Lines originating from Snietnica and Stawisha, Poland http://www.kuzmich.com/kuzmichold.html

• Meet the Turk/Gazvoda, Golobic, Zupancic and Hrovatic Family Lines originating from Novo Mesto, Slovenia http://www.kuzmich.com/turk.html

• Meet the Galinak, Surma and Kucala Family Lines originating in Krempachy and Nowa Biala, Poland http://www.kuzmich.com/galinak.html

• Meet the Extended Kucala Family Lines originating from Krempachy, Poland http://www.kuzmich.com/kucala.html

• Meet the Bochnovich Family Lines originating from Stawisha, Poland http://www.kuzmich.com/bochnovich.html

Learn more about John Kuzmich, Jr., his genealogy and his Eastern European resources

To learn more about John and his journey, his genealogy and his Eastern European resources, read his Mormon.org Testimony; and then see his KuzmichGenealogy Blog and MajcGenealogy. Check out John’s “ Secrets of Networking Collaboration Technology as a Viral Avenue for Enhancing Family History Research” and his how to “Utilize the Internet to Promote Your Genealogy Easier Through Blogging, Photo Galleries, Podcasting, Web Pages, Social Networks, Videoconferencing and Other Web-tools.” Learn about and then use the many Eastern European resources they have gathered for his VIP Extraction Team effort and see how you, too, can bring people together from across the globe to accomplish this great work in your family history.

Follow John’s Example and Attend RootsTech Family History and Technology Conference!

John Kuzmich, Jr. leaves no stone unturned in his quest to improve his skills, outreach and use of technology. This includes taking advantage of learning the latest from the best in the business, including attendance at RootsTech Family History and Technology Conference, the largest genealogical convention in North America. John is a regular participant at this internationally acclaimed ancestry event held yearly in the heart of worldwide family history, Salt Lake City, Utah. He stays on the cusp of genealogy advances by attending this important technological conference so he and his merry band can forge ahead at light speed in their discoveries and family history work. We encourage you to do the same. “Connect Your Family Past, Present, & Future at RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch. Learn how to discover and share your family stories and connections through technology.

RootsTech 2015 has been scheduled for February 11-14, 2015 in conjunction with the prestigious National Conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. This coming August registration details will be announced so you, too, can catch the wave of the future in genealogy success with John Kuzmich, Jr. Join him at RootsTech 2015 and take your genealogy viral!

Thank You, John and all!

From his humble beginnings in family history to embracing the modern gifts of today’s technology taking his genealogy viral, John Kuzmich, Jr. has inspired me that one man’s army can make a difference in family history work. He and his family and VIP Extraction Team are an example worthy of emulation. Truly, through the miracle of family history work, many lives are blessed on both sides of veil. God has given us a marvelous age to live in and the call to be saviors on Mount Zion. And He has given us the tools to be successful. We just have to do it. Thank you, John Kuzmich, Jr. and all your fellow genealogists for your vision and example. May God bless you and yours in this great work you are doing.

For the Latest Genealogy and Family History News, Updates and Tips – Contact Information:

James W. Petty, AG, CG, is the Board-Certified and Accredited Professional Genealogist, “Climbing the Family Tree Professionally, since 1969”. He is President of HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy, Inc. (www.Heirlines.com), the “Salt Lake City, Utah BBB Accredited Business” trusted professional genealogy research services firm, providing US and International genealogical and historical research for a world-wide clientele.

For Heirlines-Quality professional genealogy services, resources, and products including expert family tree research, LDS family history assistance, and answers to genealogy questions, please see Heirlines website www.Heirlines.com, and blog Heirlinesprofessionalgenealogy.com. For more genealogy and family history help and advice, please follow James W Petty, AG, CG and Heirlines Family History & Genealogy on Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

Heirlines: We professionally identify and document ancestry and kinship relationships and verify and certify the family tree with Certified Family Trees™ and Certified Forensic Genealogy Solutions™. We’re ready when you’re ready!

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