It’s the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend

stadium at nightWarning: Participating in genealogy and family history football while watching an NFL game with your significant other may cause side effects including distraction, interference with relational bonding, and failure to fully enjoy chips, salsa, and guacamole. Research responsibly.

It’s the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend! Now that the playing field has been narrowed to twelve, the winner of the Lombardi trophy will soon be determined on the field. Although some teams are required to play more on their way to the Super Bowl, it’s anyone’s game. Since there is no NFL team in the land of genealogy and family history, the following of the locals here can change as fast as the wind. It’s a house divided. But in football, there is no place like home!

So, are you up for your game this Wild Card weekend? Do you have your goal defined for each of the games you will play? Have you narrowed the field so that you are prepared to finish the season on February 1, 2014? Each play moves you closer to a genealogical touchdown, to winning the game, and ultimately achieving the Lombardi trophy of your Family History Bowl.

Have you looked for information on your pivotal person and it’s just not where you hoped it would be? Is the record set impossible to access in the time frame of this season? Does the most obvious record set not exist? Check out this page on the FamilySearch wiki. Go to the bottom of the page to “Selecting Record Types.” There you will find a listing of objectives and a priority list of records to search. If you cannot find that record set online, check the FamilySearch catalog for available microfilm, then visit the Family History Library or order microfilm to view at your local Family History Center. If you need assistance contact me. I would be happy to provide coaching advice or execute a play or more on your behalf.

To the NFL players and coaches this season, the genealogist who struggles to find time to play the game, to our ancestors whose lives were rarely blessed more than ours, I close with a quote known as The Man in the Arena[1]:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Cheering you on in your game to win your Family History Bowl!

1.Roosevelt, Theodore. “Citizenship In A Republic.” Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. Accessed January 4, 2014. http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html. [For a copy of the complete speech in PDF format click here.]

Copyright ©2014-2015 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Seeking the Win-Win in Genealogy Football

The Genealogical Touchdown32 . . . 12 . . . 8 . . . 4 . . . 2 . . . . There’s no such thing as a win-win in football, unless it’s two consecutive wins. This is the obvious goal of the NFL Conference Championship games today. Only two teams will triumph on their respective playing fields . . . . Two more weeks and only one team will prevail and claim the Lombardi trophy at Super Bowl XLVIII.

I’ll leave the commentary to the NFL analysts. They’re good at what they do. But if you’ve been following along with genealogy football, the same principle applies: win, and win again! The objective is to win from the first down to touchdown again and again for as long as there is time on the clock. It’s the play-by-play effort that makes the difference. One can never win in the present what the future holds. It is elusive. But, if in the present a play is successfully executed, and then the next, and then the next, soon the outcome is the goal and the goal this season is your Family History Bowl.

One of the ways you can track your plays is with a research log, or research calendar as some call it. When you track your plays you keep on track. There are many ways to keep this log so that it can be an effective tool as you make your plays: paper and pencil, a pre-printed form [like the one from Ancestry.com], a spreadsheet, your database computer program, or your favorite journaling app. A research log is kept for each individual or family in your lineage. It’s traditionally suggested that a child remain the subject of his or her parents’ log until that child marries. One of my favorite things about automated logs is that with tagging and/or search capacity that child who became a parent can be found on either log. [This log may be incorporated into a research report, but remember that a report that contains suggestions for further research may be completely outdated on the day of review. Check for updated availability of records.]

Recently, I was going through a fifth-generation grandfather’s file. The research I completed for him is decades old but a question came to mind. When I opened the folder I found a piece of paper with a list of sources I had reviewed and the result for consulting each particular source. The paper was dated, written in pencil, and did not look like more than scratch, but it was as if this piece of paper, this research log, transported me back in time to briefly relive the plays, make the catch, and enabled me to run and score the genealogical touchdown. The answer was found among the documents that I had already secured. It’s not always this easy, but it is always the place that you, as a researcher, want to begin. The research log is your punt return; it shows your position on the field and where to begin your drive for that touchdown!

Over the years as I have reviewed the work of a number of genealogists, including my own, I have found that the key to efficiency is the research log. It’s helpful to know what information was sought for and why, the title of the record and in what form the record was recorded, whether online, microfilm or fiche, or paper, the date [especially when using online databases], the place where the information was accessed and the result, even if what you were looking for was not there. By recording this information you will be in great field position to evaluate the source, identify inconsistencies, make wise judgements about the contribution of this source to your research, and determine where your next play begins. Wishing you all the success on this game day!

[In it’s simplicity, The Genealogical Touchdown Playbook is available in PDF format for personal, non-commercial use. It provides a place for interested youth, and others, to record their drive downfield to the ultimate genealogical touchdown!]

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s Wild Card Weekend

The back of this library patron's shirt says it all!

The back of this library patron’s shirt says it all!

Warning: Participating in genealogy and family history football while watching an NFL game with your significant other may cause side effects including distraction, interference with relational bonding, and failure to fully enjoy chips, salsa, and guacamole. Research responsibly.

It’s the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend! Now that the playing field has been narrowed to twelve, the winner of the Lombardi trophy will soon be determined on the field. Although some teams are required to play more on their way to the Super Bowl, it’s anyone’s game. Since there is no NFL team in the land of genealogy and family history, the following of the locals here can change as fast as the wind. It’s a house divided. But in football, there is no place like home!

So, are you up for your game this Wild Card weekend? Do you have your goal defined for each of the games you will play? Have you narrowed the field so that you are prepared to finish the season on February 2, 2014? Each play moves you closer to a genealogical touchdown, to winning the game, and ultimately achieving the Lombardi trophy of your Family History Bowl.

Have you looked for information on your pivotal person and it’s just not where you hoped it would be? Is the record set impossible to access in the time frame of this season? Does the most obvious record set not exist? Check out this page on the FamilySearch wiki. Go to the bottom of the page to “Selecting Record Types.” There you will find a listing of objectives and a priority list of records to search. If you cannot find that record set online, check the FamilySearch catalog for available microfilm, then visit the Family History Library or order microfilm to view at your local Family History Center. If you need assistance contact me. I would be happy to provide coaching advice or execute a play or more on your behalf.

To the NFL players and coaches this season, the genealogist who struggles to find time to play the game, to our ancestors whose lives were rarely blessed more than ours, I close with a quote known as The Man in the Arena[1]:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Cheering you on in your game to win your Family History Bowl!

1.Roosevelt, Theodore. “Citizenship In A Republic.” Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. Accessed January 4, 2014. http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html. [For a copy of the complete speech in PDF format click here.]

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

‘Tis the Season for a Holiday Bowl

Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf-Holiday Bowl 1984 WP Maybe I’m living in the past, but then again, I’m a genealogist. It’s the holiday season and the word “holiday” and “football” reminded me of the Holiday Bowl. As you may remember, in 1984 a college team won that game clinching the National Championship with an undefeated season of 13-0. I wasn’t there but the thrill of the final moments could be felt through the network!

There have been moments in the NFL this season where records have been exceeded, critics have been silenced, and lessons have been learned. Whether you are a rookie or a veteran genealogist I hope that you’re enjoying your time on the field. Maybe your success has exceeded your expectations. Maybe you’ve heard trash talk from your critics. Hopefully, you’ve learned more about your ancestors! I know I have :-)

Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf-Christmas foliage WPWith the holidays happening, what plans do you have to clinch your Family History Bowl this season? It’s a critical time. In the NFL, teams are competing for those coveted placements in the playoffs. Your time to plan for the NFL Super Bowl, Groundhog Day, and your Family History Bowl may be competing for your attention! February 2, 2014 is fast approaching!

Most of us spend the holidays with family and friends. Sometimes we may be at an away game. There are a number of considerations for a holiday game plan. Know your options and opportunities by reviewing the game plan you established at the beginning of this season. Know the available venues located near the area of your celebration and evaluate the time you may have to devote to this game. For example, besides the typical huddle around the hearth, are you aware that there are libraries, archives, and societies that are open during the holidays? Recruit some players :-) If you happen to be at an away game, when it comes to family history you are most fortunate. The databases of those online sites never close, although sometimes they’re down for maintenance.Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf-archives WP

Whatever your game plan, we at The Single Leaf wish you and yours the very best this holiday season! For those who will be huddled at home, I would like to recommend a resource published by the team at Real Simple that lists a number of questions to stoke the conversation. Merry Christmas!

[By the way, the survey results from my last post indicate that most of you participate in family history and genealogy on Sunday and Monday. I suspected as such, but there is another night of the week that the NFL has captured and that is Thursday. It’s just a another great night for researching your family tree :-)]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

How Much Is It Going To Cost To Get Into the Game?

Referencing my last post, a few questions have come to my attention as we begin this season, one being the title of this post. In light of public exposure to genealogy, through shows like Who Do You Think You Are?, many have been discussing the realistic amount of time it takes to produce the outcomes illustrated on a network show.

Coins WPMost recently a blog post on Ancestry.com revealed the 1000 hours of research behind the pursuit of Cindy Crawford’s roots. In addition, much of the highlighted research was research completed long before the inception of the show. One point that I did not see mentioned was the financial cost of those 1000 hours. In the real world hiring a genealogist to complete 1000 hours of research may cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 and that is not including travel expenses associated with on-site research. For most of us, this is unrealistic. Besides, if you are going to send someone to research your roots I would hope that someone would be you!  Who wants to sit on the sidelines?

So this begs the question, how much is it going to cost to get into the game? The short answer is that it will cost both time and money. The amount it will cost will depend on you and your circumstances.

In my last post I mentioned scheduling your game. I hope that you have committed time to this pursuit. It just might be the most rewarding trophy you place on your shelf or the shelves of your descendants. It doesn’t have to be 1000 hours in a few months. Small gains can still make a first down. Consistent progress may not only help you find family history, but make memories that become your family’s history of the future.

As far as the financial cost, it all depends on your choices. Be forewarned: the pursuit of one’s genealogy and family history has become big business. Nevertheless, one can pursue genealogy and family history with little, if any, additional cost :-) Gathering records and photographs in your possession and interviewing family members and others who knew your family cost no more than your time. Access to a computer, the internet, scanners, and subscription sites may be as close as your nearest Family History Center. On the web, your favorite search engine may list interesting leads and some sources. Be aware that the search algorithm of the different providers may reveal different results. Sometimes great material is missed if you limit your query to one search database.

So, how much is it going to cost to get into the game? It all depends. There is no doubt that such a pursuit comes from discretionary funds and this amount varies from person to person. I would recommend that a set amount be put aside each month. It’s part of the discipline of the game.

Every game has limits. In football, there are four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes. With the exception of a possible tie at the end of a fourth quarter, the game is over when the clock runs out. Know the limits of your game, but don’t let these limits block you. Tackle your limits, whether in time or money, with innovations that provide new paths to success. As the quarterback of your team it is your responsibility to read the defense of the opposing team (limits) and make the necessary adjustments. The goal is to gain yardage for a first down and ultimately a touchdown!

My best to you this coming week…Cheering you on from the bleachers :-)

[After all these considerations, if you decide that you would like to handoff your research project to an assistant coach contact me. Together we can come up with a winning strategy to find your elusive ancestors.]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Are Genealogy and Family History Your Game This Season?

stadium at nightI wrote about the genealogy touchdown back in February.1 Although it was my way of well-wishing genealogists and family historians in their work on Super Bowl Sunday, the game of football can help create a winning strategy in the pursuit of your family tree goals.

One person every team needs is a good coach. I remember when I was a little girl the undefeated season of the Miami Dolphins. Yes, that was my team and I have a childhood photo to prove it :-) Coach Don Shula once said, “I think what coaching is all about is taking players and analyzing [their] ability, put[ting] them in a position where they can excel within the framework of the team winning…”2

If you have the desire and motivation this is your opportunity. You can be the coach of your own team. As one committed to helping others grow their family trees, I provide the following questions for you to consider as the football season begins:

How do you define your Family History Bowl this season?

Like the NFL, the goal is to win the Bowl game. Although we may want to know everything about our lineage back to Adam, each season brings a different challenge. Decide on the individual that will be the pivotal player of your project. This individual’s story becomes your game. When you choose someone to focus on, realize that the outgrowth of your pursuit will encompass family, community, and social history. This pivotal player will help you determine if what you find is relevant to the game you are currently playing. The focus on this pivotal person will help you set parameters on your pursuit so that progress can be made with little distraction. Finding an in-law, or outlaw, may be interesting, but if it doesn’t take you to your Bowl game it must be put aside for another season. Note your interest, but then get back in the game. Remember, if you were playing the Super Bowl Champions today, you would not concern yourself with any other team but them. FOCUS on the goal; this is how a game is won :-)

What’s your game plan?

Every genealogist needs a plan that provides direction in their research. A great place to begin once you have determined that pivotal person is the FamilySearch wiki and the Ancestry.com wiki. These resources can provide direction at no cost to you. Search for the known or suspected locality of that pivotal person on these sites to find what record sets are available that might help answer your questions. Then, of course, use websites, including the FamilySearch Catalog, and on-site research facilities to identify holdings and locate specific record sets. By the way, one overlooked resource is individuals who might have known your pivotal person so interview as many of them as possible. Once you know what your game plan is it’s time to make another decision…

Who’s on your team?

In football the offense has 11 players, and the defense has an equal number. Then there are special teams. You may not be able to recruit these numbers to your team, but recruit. The actual number of team players is dependent on the individual project. Teamwork is your key to success :-)

Your offense will consist of those that actually assist in obtaining the genealogy touchdowns. These individuals will be other family members, if you are fortunate, and friends of a like-mind. I would recommend that you become the quarterback; the team will need your vision and leadership :-) For those with children and/or grandchildren, involve them in tasks that engage them. Most children will have an interest in some aspect of this work if it’s presented to them in an appealing way. It’s amazing how genealogical tasks can become enjoyable. It’s not always the task at hand but who you’re with that can make the difference, especially for children.

Now the defense is critical. There are so many competing interests and distractions in life that one may believe that there is no time for this game. Your defense must be carefully considered. It always helps to have the support of family and friends. Remember, your best defense is a good offense. Determine what you will do and stay with the plan, unless of course it’s a true emergency :-)

Finally, you must identify who’s on special teams. These are the reference librarians, archivists, and others who can direct you when necessary. Make a list of the libraries, archives, genealogical and historical societies that are specialists in your area of interest. Those at a Family History Center near you may also be able to assist you.

What’s your schedule?

Now that you’ve defined your Bowl game, determined your game plan, and identified your team, it’s time to set the schedule to play the game. Decide when you can play and stick to it. Once a week is a good strategy in the lives of people who are busy with other commitments. Two to three hours on a Sunday evening may be just the activity you need, but the schedule is yours to decide. I’ve seen meaningful success in 15 minutes. Although there have been a few games forfeited over the years, your game is worth playing so stick with it!

We are in this to win!

I’m looking forward to a winning season; I hope you are, too! Unlike winning the NFL Super Bowl, each team in the field of genealogy and family history can win the big one. I look forward to your genealogical success! I am here all season to answer your questions; contact me :-) I would love to hear from you!

1. Definition: A genealogy touchdown is when you have used sound principles to gather enough information and evidence to accurately identify an individual and his or her place in the world. A genealogy touchdown is the answer to your research question. Depending on your game, a genealogy touchdown is when you have used sound principles to gather enough information and evidence to reconstruct a family, a neighborhood and/or events that tell a story of a people. A genealogy touchdown is a sense of accomplishment amidst the game, knowing the game is not over yet. A genealogy touchdown inspires an end zone celebration :-)

2. Don Shula. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2013. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/don_shula.html, accessed August 31, 2013.

Copyright ©2013-2017 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Genealogical Touchdown

The Single Leaf Touchdown WPI don’t know about you but I enjoy the game of football. In the upper elementary grades I was one of the neighborhood quarterbacks. Rules were modified to include the fact that the opposing team could not sack THIS quarterback, a definite advantage :-) Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with the game and its players at all levels. The game is exhilarating; their work for charity is inspiring!

But today I would like to comment on another type of touchdown, the genealogical touchdown! I define it as the reconstruction of families, neighborhoods, and/or events that tell a story of a people. As a genealogist and family historian, when I know that I have made a reasonably exhaustive search for records, identified the sources of the information through proper citations, analyzed and correlated the quality of the evidence, resolved any conflicts identified, and arrived at a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion I call it a “genealogical touchdown.” [Others call it the Genealogical Proof Standard or GPS.1] In the game of life, may we who pursue our family’s history experience many touchdowns :-) Happy Super Bowl!

1. Board for Certification of Genealogists. The BCG Genealogical Standards                Manual. Orem, Utah: Ancestry 2000.

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.