5 Steps to Great Research

There are five related steps to take to get good results from your research. We create a specific question to be answered, a research plan using the question, a research log, and a research report. Optionally we create a biographical sketch from information in the research report.

Steps to Create a Research Question

First, we craft a question to answer. Use these four elements: who, where, when, and what, to focus on specific items that you want to learn more about. Being as specific as you can goes a long way toward getting reliable results from your research.

Steps to Create a Research Plan

Next, we examine the research question and gather more information about the subject we are interested in. We find sources relevant to the person, place, and time span involved. Sources such as locality guides, histories, and archives catalogs can provide good results for further searches.

Steps to Create a Research Log

After we have looked into each of the record types in the research plan, we can start actively searching for the best records available to us. We want to focus on relevant records that are likely to answer the research question. Prioritize the research items to gather information from the easiest to the hardest and organize your research plan accordingly.

Steps to Create a Research Report

When we have completely researched the question, we can then create the research report. I am a fan of the write as you cite method. This means when I am researching, I am also drafting parts of the research report. It is not a step back, but it is not a speedy process either. Take time to really look at the records and save time in the long run so you do not have to go back and revisit them.

Steps to Create a Biographical Sketch

The final element of great research is to make a biographical sketch. There are many ways to create a sketch. I have written a few posts about this topic, but one of the recommended ways is to use the NEHGS Register style. Whole books have been written about writing a family history sketch, so I will leave that choice to you.

Manuscript Monday: Booth Antecedents

Among my family papers is this document: “Antecedents of Male Booth Line.”

“Antecedents of Male Booth Line” – manuscript

This line is accurate as far as it goes, but it leads to a different Booth family in the United States.

I have no idea who in my extended family created this document. It may have been Charles Booth Gessner, or someone else at the intersection of the Booth and Gessner families.

Part of the problem arose due to confusion between two early lines of Booth families. One detailed in Walter S. Booth’s genealogy and the other detailed in Donald Lines Jacobus’ genealogy. Booth’s line goes into County Cheshire, England, and Jacobus’ goes no further than the New England colonies.

Walter Booth has additional detail in his interesting volume which discusses this line, but it is not mine.

Thoughts?

NPM

Thoughts on a Maling Surname Study

I am contemplating doing an (in)formal surname study of the Maling surname in the United States. Initially I plan to study users of the exact spelling and then branch out into some variants using Soundex variants.

The major goal of the study will be to determine origins and migrations of the few families who use the name. Currently there are fewer than five hundred or so Malings in existence in the United States. Most of them seem to have emigrated from England in the mid to late 1700s. A sizable number have immigrated from elsewhere since and live in various parts of the country.

The exact details will come up as they come up. Currently I am collecting data on others with the surname. I have done extensive work on my own family, and some other families, especially the one from Penobscot County, Maine. There are several other largish family groups, but I have not really examined them. One seems to have come into the country from Russia via Canada, and another seems to have originated in Germany.

In other thoughts, there are two England-based societies which host one-name (surname) studies, The Surname Society, and the Guild of One-Name Studies. I may join one or the other of them at some point when I “cross the pond,” but that time is not nigh.

Any thoughts or considerations I should account for before I dive in?

NPM

Review: Ancestors and Descendants of Daniel Burbank by H. D. Burbank

Burbank, Henry DeLore. The Ancestors and Descendants: Lieut. Daniel & Mary (Marks) Burbank, Williamstown, Massachusetts. West Jordan, Utah: H. D. Burbank. Privately Printed, 1983.

This 562-page tome covers mostly the descendants of Daniel Burbank, born 4 April 1736, died 27 September 1802, and his wife Mary Marks, born 18 July 1740, died 25 February 1808.

The first four generations from John1, born about 1611, died 3 April 1683, the immigrant ancestor, are mostly covered in Sedgley and tread the same ground. In fact, Mr. Sedgley is credited as the inspiration for the current volume. I’ve also covered most of the information included in my paper of 10 years ago.

The main advantage of this volume is its extensive coverage of the above line from Daniel5 to many present-day descendants. There is an abundance of biographical and local history anecdotes. Many details of the families connected to the main line of descent are also given.

There are no real sources given, although the reader may be able, on examination of the text, figure out where a statement came from. The numbering system used is easy to follow. An every-name index is included, in the same size of type as the body of the book, which makes locating a particular person or family easy.

NPM

Amended Sketch of Moses Cushing Maling

3. Moses Cushing3 Maling (Thomas2, John1) was born in Maine on 19 November 1819.[1] He died on 6 October 1893[2] and was buried at Hope Cemetery, Kennebunk Village[3]He married at Kennebunkport, on 5 July 1847 Olive Porter Chadbourne, daughter of Elisha Chadbourne and Susannah Lord.[4]Olive was born at Kennebunk, on 17 March 1824, and she died at Kennebunk, on 20 December 1878.[5] She was buried at Hope Cemetery, Kennebunk Village.[6] Moses married second, on 11 October 1886, Lucia Wells (Nason) Folsom, daughter of Benjamin and Olive (–) Nason.[7] Lucia was born on 14 March 1834 at South Berwick, York County, Maine,[8] and she died at York, Maine, on 9 October 1920.[9]

Notes

1, 2, 3, Moses Maling’s gravestone. Photograph, Taken 29 November 2002, Photographed by G. C. C. Maling, The Author (Seattle, King Co., Washington).

4, Marriage publication date of 13 June 1847 from Chadbourne genealogy. The Kennebunkport Historical Society materials state 5 July 1849 for the marriage date, which is after Mary Abby’s birth in May 1849. Elaine Chadbourne Bacon, compiler, The Chadbourne Family in America: A Genealogy (North Waterboro, Maine: Chadbourne Family Association, 1994), 157; Maling family in Kennebunkport area, family information file, October 1995 Kennebunkport Historical Society.

5, 6, see note 1.

7, Maine Marriages, 1771–1907, database online, familysearch.org.

8, 9, Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, database online, FamilySearch.org.

See also: Maling Family Resources for more materials on Moses.