Thursday, December 27, 2012

Flow Charts

At times, the leaves on the branches seem to get extra thick.  How am I going to see through all the cluster of names, dates, marriages, wills, deeds, surveys, patents, etc...etc...until there seems little hope.  A flow chart may helpful in these times of troubles.   The following figure is an example of what I mean.

David Jones of Charles City Co., has been one of those times for me.  His life begins in the documents of time around 1635.  Many genealogist have associated his name with many different family groups.   The chart below shows how one can take the date (beginning record), geographic location, and given information to form a "flow chart" of these leaves that seem to be getting in the way.
The reference is Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. I, 1623 - 1666.  [CP I in upper right corner.]  The date 1635 is placed in the upper left, and the number of acres, followed by the name of "David Jones #1." [Using squares and circles.]   Any associated names, places, or information is added as each reference is examined. [ Page number given under CPI.]  Thus, a "flow chart" begins to appear with a variety of information that can be used to link other family groups into the family tree. 

For example, Tappahanna Marsh becomes Weyanoake, where David Jones names "David Jones his creek".  Any future document using any of these names would place them connected to this David Jones.  Others by the same name could then be separated among the clusters of names.  A pattern can them be recognized in which to place associated surnames and individuals of interest.  This flow chart is from 1635 to 1655 and identifies this David Jones to be active at least 20 years. 

Go ahead, get into the flow, the "flow chart" that is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Chronology Cluster

Putting together a family tree is one goal of the genealogy endeavor.  Brick walls often get in the way, and can be frustrating to the tree climber.  When trying to get around some brick walls, a chronology cluster may be helpful.  By this I mean placing your family tree into a chronology that outlines "dates" and "clusters" (groups) the family members into a single view.  The following figures show two methods.
The figure above is taken from my own research showing how one may go about designing such a cluster.  Starting with a blank sheet of graph paper (one of my favorite tools), the dates are placed along the outside margins, top to bottom upon the page.  You can use any sequence of dates, but I usually begin with "50 year" periods. [Assumes a generations is 20 - 40 years.]  Then I place the "known" family members  along the dates that "best fit" these folks. [Using squares and circles.]  Then I connect the family members along this "time line" (Chronology).  It helps to color code distinct family groups, so that a visual picture can be seen.  This also means that if you have an individual out of line, they should become evident.

The above figure takes a more "linear" approach with wider intervals for dates, and keeping the family members in straight lines.  This allows you to add more comments, facts, and information to the family tree as you are trying to put things together.  Again, color coding each family helps keep every group separate as the tree gets bigger and longer.

A chronology cluster I call it...shake some tree branches with it.

For a discussion of "squares" and "circles" see my blog -