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.

Working Wednesday: Gigging at Fiverr

I just put up two gigs on Fiverr (see below) and so far, so good.

The vibe is like how GenLighten operated five years ago before it changed to a subscription model and shut down. There you were able to put up an offering for all to view and buy. At Fiverr you do the same in a comparable way.

The experience at Fiverr is much better, though, as you can see more stats about how well your offers are being received. You can also create links for marketing, which you could not easily do at GenLighten.

Right now, the competition in the Genealogy category seems all right. Most entries in the genealogy / family history section are good, and some not so much. I can’t comment on the quality of the deliverables, though, since I’m a seller, not a buyer.

Here are my two current gig listings:
Full-scale genealogy research
Obituary search

I am thinking about adding a third gig, for proofreading, editing, and writing family histories.

Thoughts?

NPM


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

Surname Saturday: Richard Mellen

Looking at the directory entry for Richard Mellen in Robert Charles Anderson’s The Great Migration Directory, I found a reference to Ernest Flagg’s Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England.

In Flagg’s book I see two pages of information about the first couple of generations of Richard’s family. Much of the material is copied from Thomas Bellows Wyman’s Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown (see volume 2).

What I find interesting is that there is no reference to Simon Mellen, an alleged son of Richard’s. Wyman’s Genealogies include Simon in the entry for Richard, but he was basing his conclusion on the assumption that there was a direct familial relationship between the two. Many online trees contain a connection between the two, but I do not think that there is any factual evidence to say one way or the other. I have covered both families separately and together in separate places with extensive research into each. See Richard Mellen, a 3-Generation Study, and the Simon Mellen genealogy, for further information.

The only reason I included Simon in my coverage of Richard’s family was to make a point about the possibility they were related. My educated guess is still that they are not related as father and son. They may have been brothers or cousins, but we still do not know how.

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