A genealogist’s letter to Santa–what we really want this year!
I have been a good genealogist all year. My research always conforms to the Genealogical Proof Standard: my research is reasonably exhaustive, my citations are complete and accurate, my analysis is thorough, I correlate records and data fully, I resolve conflicting evidence or offer some valid explanations for the conflicts, and my conclusions are soundly written.
In addition, I use outside-the-box thinking to solve the many brick wall projects that cross my desk. Narrative research reports are filled with documented historical and geographical details. And Legacy Tree Genealogists was honored as one of Utah’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies for the fifth year in a row. All-in-all, it has been a good year.
My holiday wish-list isn’t filled with the usual requests you may get from genealogists. The loss of the 1890 U.S. Census is a pain, but there are often other sources (such as the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule, or state census reports) which help overcome that loss. As an Irish researcher, I will always wish Eamon de Valera had not decided to take a stand at Four Courts in Dublin, ultimately bringing about the destruction of thousands of Irish records. But again, there are potential sources of information elsewhere, and I love the challenge of finding the records we need in some other place, as outlined in my previous article, Five Steps for Finding that Hard-to-Find Irish Ancestor.
My requests are pretty simple this year:
1. The records destroyed in any wars or disasters (natural or manmade) to be restored to their former state, and for archives (particularly central and eastern European ones) to organize their material better so they actually know what they have. For help in these difficult archives, we wrote this article. 4 Eastern European Archives Growing Through Citizen Archivists.
2. When a message is sent to a DNA match, would you please give that match a little nudge to reply, Santa? We aren’t asking for personal information. Normally, we want to know who their grandparents were, or we want to see their family tree so we can determine how our client is related to them. We wrote this article, 13 Secrets to Getting Replies from DNA Cousin Matches–but a little extra Christmas magic can’t hurt! When we write and get no reply it can really bog down the research while we wait and wonder.
3. Similarly, would you please encourage everyone to attach some sort of family tree to their DNA test results so we can all see if the relation is on the family line we are researching? The names and other data of living individuals are redacted, so there are no security risks.
4. Finally, on a more personal note, would you please persuade one of my three living male cousins on my father’s line to take a Y-DNA test? They are my only hope for tracing that line back “across the pond” and it sure would be nice to have their help. If there are any questions, this article does a great job explaining DNA Testing for Genealogical Research.
That’s my list, Santa. They would be a big help to all genealogists everywhere and would go a long way to helping make our research go more smoothly – except for that last one. That’s totally for me.
And if you, or any of the elves, or your other friends need some assistance with their genealogical research, remember, you can always contact Legacy Tree Genealogists. As professional genealogists, we are skilled at thinking “outside-the-box” and utilizing every resource possible to discover your family’s story.