Monday night, I listened to a webinar given by Ancestry.com called “Ready, Set, Go! Family History How-To Everyone Should Know”.
Although I don't usually write on Ancestry.com (I try keep my remarks to their Canadian website, Ancestry.ca, on my blog), I made an exception this week, and listened to an introductory webinar. I wanted to hear what they had to say about researching, and Crista Cowan (the girl who lead the webinar – she is behind The Barefoot Genealogist's blog on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/notes/crista-cowan/why-am-i-called-the-barefoot-genealogist/3140686791615) gave some good tips that anyone can use – be they a beginner or an experienced genealogist.
She gave a list of what she calls “Genealogy Conventions”. I picked three conventions to write on -
When dealing with a married couples, always put the woman's maiden name with her married name in the family tree. I always put (if I know it) her maiden name in the family tree, or in the search box. That is, if I know what it is. If you don't know what it is when searching, leave that field blank. In French-Canadian genealogy, it is preferable (because of Quebec civil laws listing all of a female's records under her birth name) to use the woman's maiden name when looking up civil records, as it will greatly increase your chances of finding her records vice finding them under her married name).
In a family tree, put the surname that you are researching in CAPS (capital letters), and leave all other names in non-caps. Now this is interesting, but it make perfect sense. The surname will leap out at you when it is in caps, and you can easily find the name you are looking for. An excellent idea!
The trouble with place names — which seems to be a constant complaint I hear with my research work in Canada — is, how do I approach this? Crista says that it is a problem everywhere – just think about the problems in Europe!
But we have problems in Canada, too. Right now, I am researching a place in Ontario that had a name change in 1800s, plus a township name change.
So, you must put the exact name where the event took place.
Remember that in order to find out all the information which is on the 1851 Canada Census, you must check with the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website www.lac-bac.gc.ca – and you must have the correct name in the search box, or else the search engine will say, “No Results Found”. Ancestry doesn't show everything on a record, so you will have to go to the LAC to find the information.
I must say that it was very good. If you missed it on the 14th, it is going to be placed in their onsite archives in the Learning Center at www.ancestry.com/cs/HelpAndAdviceUS.
Postscript: One place to check first on Ancestry.ca to see if they have a certain record is the Card Catalog http://search.ancestry.ca/search/CardCatalog.aspx#ccat=hc%3D25%26dbSort%3D1%26sbo%3D1%26. They have all the records there, and you can check that first before deciding to subscribe to Ancestry.ca. And it's FREE!