Three Wishes on St. Patrick’s Day :-)

St. Patrick's Day WPI’m dancing the Irish jig this year! I caught a leprechaun on a whim and he granted me three wishes! Since the details of my Irish ancestors have been elusive, I just had to have his help in locating the final resting place of two of my immigrant ancestors. Wouldn’t you know it, they are found in a commonly named cemetery in unmarked graves! Nevertheless, I have found them in the first of seven likely places :-)

For those who may have missed my post last year, I found a resource, available for download, that is a treasure trove of information on seeking those elusive, and not so elusive, Irish ancestors. It is entitled Tracing Your Ancestors in Ireland. It includes step-by-step instructions, including a number of websites, a bibliography, and information directory.

Other sites have created resources to assist those seeking to discover their Irish ancestry as well. The FamilySearch Wiki is a perpetual resource for international research guidance. Ancestry.com has created a 3-page guide available for download entitled “10 Places to Find Your Irish Ancestors in America.” A number of paid sites have made collections relating to one’s Irish ancestors available today at no cost. Check out ancestry.com, myheritage.com, and, as always, familysearch.org. Rootsireland.ie has the “largest database of family records in Ireland.” Findmypast.com has a large Irish collection. They offer a 14-day free trial if you are not a current subscriber.

With so many records available on-line today and throughout the year, others may be green with envy! What about my last leprechaun wish? My wish is to place headstones on my immigrant ancestors’ graves so they will be remembered by the generations to come!

So, on this St. Patrick’s Day, “may you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!”[1] For me, it’s a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream :-)

1. IslandIreland.com. http://www.islandireland.com/Pages/folk/sets/toasts.html. accessed March 2014.

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

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Genealogy and Family History: A Game for All Seasons

A round "Tuit" to help you get around to your genealogy and family history!

A round “Tuit” to help you get around to your genealogy and family history!

Some of you may have started participating in genealogy and family history this past autumn when the leaves were turning and the weather called us to an inside game. For others, New Year’s Day tradition brings the air of resolutions and the commitment to new goals.

A recent survey of articles reveals that many of us have the same aspirations: eat well, exercise, get more sleep, lose weight, and/or get in or out of relationships. There are also goals related to finance, organization, and making life better, happier, and more satisfying. One of your goals may be to learn more about your genealogy and family history.

There are a number of reasons that individuals pursue their genealogy and family history, and if this is one of your goals this year I would like to recommend resources to help you get started.

First let me state that it is traditionally taught that you start with yourself, but any ancestor of interest is just as appropriate. Please be aware that if you have not proven the relationships between generations you may be learning about family history that belongs to someone else. As interesting as this may be, it will not help you reach your goal to know your family history.

If you are interested in recording your or a family member’s personal history, Real Simple has published a 10-page worksheet with questions that cover a life span of experience to help get you started. Set a time to complete this document or arrange a time to interview that family member of interest. You could even do both :-) Choose your questions wisely. Some individuals may be uncomfortable with specific topics so be sensitive and appropriate.

The second resource I would like to recommend comes in two online wikis. For those who are unfamiliar with the term “wiki” it is a web application that allows individuals to collaborate and add, modify, or delete content as necessary. The idea is to keep the most relevant and up-to-date information available to its audience. Ancestry.com has a wiki that provides the information found in two classic reference books for the United States, Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources and The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. The information from these two books, in addition to other information available in Ancestry’s Learning Center, can help you get started. FamilySearch.org has a wiki that provides information from their classic Research Outlines that covers research resources internationally as well as more up-to-date information. FamilySearch also has online tutorials for the necessary education to reach your goal of knowing more about your family history.

And finally, don’t forget the search engines that provide access to all the information available online. Check out David Barney’s well-attended presentation at RootsTech 2013 for helpful hints on using Google’s tools for genealogy.

Genealogy and family history can be fascinating. There is a definite learning curve so take is slow. Focus on one pivotal person and build from there. With these resources you will have everything necessary to reach your goal. Remember the KISS principle. Wishing you all the best in this new year!

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

“KISS me, I’m Irish!”

The Blarney Stone and all its allure asideWDYTHA Lynn Broderick 2013 WP, “KISS me, I’m Irish!” It’s a common phrase on a day like today, but now that the parades have passed and one’s appetite has been satisfied by some corned beef and cabbage (or another delectable dish, like green eggs and ham), my thoughts turn to my Irish ancestors. Just as with any nationality, one would never have been the same without them, and, well, being Irish can be a lot of fun :-) Leprechauns, pots o’gold, and great folktales all add a measure of humor and intrigue to temper the hardships our ancestors suffered during the Great Potato Famine. (At least my ancestors were part of that tragic time in history :-(

Since KISS genealogy defines me, I’m always looking for resources that will help those interested in learning more about their family history in a clear and concise way. For those of you of Irish descent, I found a resource, available for download, that is a treasure trove of information on seeking those elusive and not so elusive ancestors. It is entitled Tracing Your Ancestors in Ireland. It includes step-by-step instructions, including a number of websites, a bibliography, and information directory. In the year of The Gathering Ireland 2013, it is a welcomed preparatory publication.

Whether elusive or not, in order to conduct genealogical research on the Emerald Isle, one must complete preliminary research to find the specific locality, at least the county, but preferably the parish :-) This can be a challenge, but now you have the goal: locate the county and/or parish of residence for your ancestor(s). With this reference guide you will be well on your way!

So, if you’re Irish, enjoy a Shamrock shake and consider how applying these suggestions will lead you to your genealogical pot o’ gold. And when you find it, please let me know so that we can do the Irish jig together :-)

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

KISS Genealogy

KISS Genealogy WPA number of years ago a university professor asked me to write a curriculum for a family history and genealogy class. He told me to make it “KISS.” Well, I hadn’t heard of that principle before so he added, “Keep it simple s_____.” You can fill in the blank.

Now the KISS principle is attributed to Clarence Leonard [Kelly] Johnson (1910-1990), an aeronautical engineer who led the design of the SR-71 Blackbird.1 He is noted as saying, “Our aim is to get results cheaper, sooner, and better through application of common sense to tough problems. If it works, don’t fix it…. Reduce reports and other paperwork to a minimum…. Keep it simple, stupid—KISS—is our constant reminder.”2

So there you have it, my instructions. Sometimes the thought of doing genealogy brings a vision of piles of files, endless reports, and isolation. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, does it? I can attest to this experience.

Years previous to the request to write a curriculum I enrolled in a university genealogy class. Weeks into it I thought, “never again!” I could not figure out the discrepancy. I had been doing genealogy since I could hold a “magic” marker, purple to be exact. I had designed a family tree by the time I could write, and before I ever saw one in printed form. Not to get personal, but no one in my family did such things. As an anomaly, I was having a lot of fun tracking down those ancestors anyway :-) Now, in this university setting I was saying, “something is so wrong here!” It was only appropriate that the time would come that I would be asked to write such a curriculum.

So I did. I wrote the curriculum. Originally, the request was to cover genealogy in four 30-minute lessons. I raised him two. The class increased exponentially and by the fourth cycle four times the number of students were in attendance. Simplicity breeds engagement. Simple is not superficial; it’s approaching a subject step by step, taking the time required without imposed deadlines so that one can cover the breadth and depth necessary to feel the satisfaction of a work well done. It’s finished when it’s finished. Granted, professionally speaking, deadlines are part of the contract, but for anyone reading this who’s just curious, has a question or two, or a compelling story to confirm, may I suggest you give it a KISS! Spend today with your loved ones and in future days I’ll share with you ways to KISS your heritage hunting. Happy Valentines Day!

  1. Ben R. Rich, Clarence Leonard (Kelly) Johnson 1910-1990: A Biographical Memoir (Washington, D.C.: National       Academies Press, 1995), 221.
  2. Rich, Clarence Leonard (Kelly) Johnson 1910-1990, 231.

Copyright ©2013 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.

The Single Leaf

The Single Leaf WPDuring the autumn season, in some parts of the world, the leaf of a tree falls to the ground. Actually, many leaves fall, but one is noticed. It’s colorful. It’s beautiful. It’s similar but not the same as every other leaf that falls from the same tree. Other trees surrounding it are different altogether, yet they too have leaves that fall, with the exception of the evergreens.

The leaf. The single leaf. Unique in its color, and pattern, and shape. Its identity is all its own. Its contribution to the surroundings can go unnoticed. Each person is like the single leaf. Without a medium of preservation, the individual’s story deteriorates into oblivion. Acknowledged, the experiences, challenges, and triumphs are added to the collective interaction we admire in the beauty of nature. Each person’s life is like the single leaf, colorful and rich. Once written, it is pressed between the pages of a book to be remembered. Individually, it can be studied, framed, and sometimes even admired. Collectively, the picturesque vision provides wisdom that aides future generations. The value of the single leaf is why I research individuals of the past in the context of family, community, and social history.

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