On a recent visit to the Georgia Department of Archives and History, I ran into a lady who needed a little help looking something up on one of the computer stations. When that was finished, she showed me a copy of her grandfather’s 1930 US census enumeration and said, “Can you help me get past this? I don’t know what to do!”
Much of the work that I do is in the 19th century, and so my normal ramblings may not be of help to researchers who, like the woman at the Archives, have no idea what to do if they hit a brick wall very early on. It can be discouraging. Worse, the very books that are supposed to help (books written for beginners or those who are otherwise stymied) are often constructed as discussions on different records sets rather than as step-by-step instructions on how to solve a problem or actually do the research. After all, it’s one thing to say, “Look in the land records,” but another entirely to take someone by the hand and show them exactly what needs doing.
My solution is to begin with a family about which I know nothing and show you, my few (but treasured!) readers, how to construct a lineage, one step at a time. I’m beginning with a family enumerated in the 1930 US census in Rabun Co., GA, where I live, so that I will have easy access to the needed records (the idea being that the easier the records are for me to access, the more I will post about this long-term case study). While I can’t promise to post on a regular schedule, I will try to post something at least once each month.
The family I’ve chosen is that of Roy and Hattie [–?–] Teague. (The symbols after Hattie’s name mean that her maiden name is unknown at this time, for those who have never encountered that before.) I know absolutely nothing about this family except what I’ve gleaned from their 1930 census enumeration. I deliberately chose an unknown family so that I could give a fresh perspective of this research as I encounter problems.
My research style is a bit ecclectic, but I hope you learn something from this. For those of you who are just beginning, please feel free to post your work in the comments section of each post; follow along with your own family research, if you like. Please also feel free to add questions or point out sources or methods which might help move the project along.
I’m beginning this case study in what would normally be my great-grandparents’ generation, and am assuming (usually not a good word to use in conjunction with genealogical problems) that the following research has already been done:
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates have been gathered for the three preceding generations (me, my parents, and my grandparents, if Roy and Hattie were actually my great-grandparents)
- All living members of my family have been asked about the family; stories and memorabilia (family Bible, pictures, newspaper clippings, military records, etc.) have been collected or copied and organized
- As many other gaps of knowledge on these generations have been filled in with research into newspapers (obituaries, wedding announcements, etc.) and other records that are easily accessible to the beginning genealogist
We’ll begin with an analysis of Roy and Hattie in the 1930 US census and move onward from there. For those who would like to follow along, click on the category “Step by Step Genealogy”, do a search on this blog for the Teague family, or use the links below.
21 January 1943: Outrage Over the Cessation of the WPA Hot School Lunch Program (Contains a letter from Mrs. Hattie Teague to The Clayton Tribune)