Friday, January 21, 2011

The 3 X 3 Method

0 X 1
3 X 1
5 X 1
2 X 3
*3 X 3
4 X 1
2 X 4
2 X 2

Sometimes when people start their family tree, they wonder how should they go about this? Where to start? How far back in time can I find my ancestors? What is a reasonable goal?

To set a reasonable and achievable goal, I recommend using a process I call The 3 X 3 Method. Using this method provides you with a plan to research and document the first fifteen people in your family tree.

When starting a family tree, always start with yourself. Then, move chronologically backward through your family tree researching your parents, your four grandparents and your eight great-grandparents. When you look at the position of each of these individuals in a pedigree chart, you will see each person has a number. With the exception of the person in the number one position, males are even numbered and females are odd numbered. This is called the Ahnentafel Numbering System.

The goal of The 3 X 3 Method is to research three pieces of evidence for each of the three primary facts (birth, marriage and death) for yourself, your parents, your four grandparents and your eight great-grandparents. Yes, I know that you are not going to find death information about those people who are still living, including yourself.
Remember what I said about starting with what you know and moving backwards? Right. With that in mind, start with the death of the individual, then research the marriage, then the birth.

Three pieces of evidence for a death might include the following: newspaper obituary or death notice, funeral card, cemetery plot information, grave stone marker, death certificate or death registration, Social Security or Social Insurance information. Date of burial is a different event from date of death. However, you may find the date of death included with the burial information.

Three pieces of evidence for a marriage might include: newspaper announcement, marriage bond, licence or registration, or marriage certificate from the church. Remember that wedding invitations, banns and engagement notices only provide information of the couples intent to marry; they do not prove that the wedding actually took place.

Three pieces of evidence for a birth might include: newspaper announcement, hospital record, birth certificate or registration. Social Security or Social Insurance information may include a date of birth. Census records may also corroborate a date of birth.

For those of us who have been researching for a while, I recommend reviewing your family history files. Are you missing information? Do you have three pieces of evidence for those three primary events for your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents? Now might be a good time to go back and fill in those missing bits of information using The 3 X 3 Method.

Copyright by Kathryn Lake, 2011.