NGS Home Study Course: Lesson Two

by Tonia Kendrick on November 21, 2010 in And More

The second lesson in the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course is about Family Traditions and Family Records.  We all know that, in genealogy, we should start at the present and work backward.  Starting with the present includes identifying the records that can be found in one’s home and also evaluating the family stories that we have been told throughout the years.

Evaluating Family Stories

There is nothing unusual about evaluating family stories.    The key is that we don’t accept stories at face value; we go through essentially the same process that we use to evaluate any other potential source.  I would even go so far as to say we should try to disprove family stories.  That would keep us from trying to force the evidence we find into supporting the story.  If we use sound genealogical practices and can’t disprove the story, then we should be left with an accurate tradition.

Family Records

The second part of the lesson was about locating family papers.  Now, I’ve been doing genealogy for several years, so I’ve accumulated a lot of records – and far more papers than I would like – , but for the purpose of the assignment, I tried to hone in on those records that were given to me by family members or that I might have obtained in the normal course of things.  The assignment was to list each record, including its provenance and the genealogical information and clues contained.

Check back tomorrow and the next day to see how I approached these assignments.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Goodrum November 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I’m really enjoying your posts on the Home Study Course. I plan starting it in 2011 and it’s interesting to read about your approaches and experiences.
Michelle Goodrum´s last blog post ..Theres one in every family! – 100th Carnival of Genealogy


Tonia Kendrick November 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Michelle, thanks for the comments! Another blog you might want to take a look at is Blog of a Genealogist in Training. I’ve been following her progress in the Home Study Course for several months.


Dae November 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

In conjunction with “start with the present,” I would add “start with your children” (or grandchildren). If you do this, you won’t have to build a separate line for your spouse. It enlarges the Ahnentafel to twice its size, but your children (descendants?) will bless you for it.

Happy Dae·
ShoeString Genealogy


Tonia Kendrick November 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Excellent advice. Thanks!


Mavis November 28, 2010 at 7:56 am

You know I meant to take this course about 20 years ago. Maybe I should finally do this in 2011. Enjoying reading about it.
Mavis´s last blog post ..52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Challenge 47 – Genealogy Christmas Wish List


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