“The TRUTH is Out There…”

At the Colorado Family History Expo, Bernie Gracey, an exec with Pitney-Bowes and an eager genealogist, applied some interested research cliches his quest for his own genealogy:

  1. “somehow related”–people in the near geographic area are usually somehow related.  Their spatial relationships are visible and their family relationships can be determined if you find the TRUTH out there.
  2. “follow the money”–a study of the local and regional economics applied to your own family members reveals their blood and marriage relationships.  Chains of property title have a pedigree base.
  3. “closer to each other” are “more related than others who live farther apart.”  This geographical pattern is actually an axiom–ignore it at your pedigree  peril.
  4. “collateral research”–don’t get caught in the surname trap.  Collateral relatives provide the key to identifying the grandparents.
  5. “alphabetized census”–wipes out the spatial distances, and thus the relationships between the neighbors.  This is especially true for mountain valleys, where people persist in the same localities and neighborhoods for long periods of time.
  6. “cultural geography” and “demography”–population from the same villages in Europe are most likely to settle in the same neighborhoods in America.  Migrants tend to move in with their relatives from their past.  Remember, the first work force is usually the relatives.

Gracy demonstrated these truisms on his own family–Italians who moved into Manhattan.  He can even name the streets where Italians of  specific origins lived near their kin.  Naples on Canal Street, Sicily and Palermo on Stanton Street.

Almost every east coast city has “Little Italy” and “Little Russia” and “Little Poland.”  His advice was to go back again and again to the Census.  Review the people on the same page, the surrounding pages.  Study them and check them all out.

Hint: you can’t pop in and pop out using online census indexes with their linked images.  You will do much better finding your relatives if you study each household carefully–naming patterns and migrations, who lives with whom, etc.   Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  You can follow me on Twitter. And now on Facebook. No reason to be in dark about my whereabouts and my focus.  I plan to use both these Social Networking tools to find the other 4% I’m searching for.  And to locate the family Bibles preserved out there by relatives I don’t yet know.  Join me…

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