If you read my blog, you know that I am a big believer in buying presents for myself for Christmas and my birthday. This year for my birthday I gave myself a day of genealogy education. This past Saturday I attended the San Mateo County Genealogical Society‘s Spring Seminar featuring Warren Bittner, CG.
It was a great day which started by carpooling with friends from my own genealogy society. We were so busy talking, we ended up taking the scenic route because I got off at the wrong exit. Oops! We got to see some beautiful homes in Woodside and Menlo Park!
We heard four lectures from Warren Bittner about complex evidence, immigrant ancestors, historical context, and illegitimacy. Warren Bittner is an excellent speaker. I was impressed how he easily wove together many complex documents into easy concepts.
The most important concept I learned this weekend is to ANALYZE and COMPARE all documents relating to your research question. Warren Bittner’s case study about complex evidence used over twenty different documents. It was only when you compared the documents side by side that the many connections began to appear.
We also learned how important it is to research the FAN Club (Friends and Neighbors) of your ancestor. I was impressed to see Warren Bittner use the FAN principle on the people buried in the same cemetery plot as his ancestor. It eventually led him to his ancestors in Germany.
Overall it was a great day! I left with a sense of excitement to go re-evaluate some of my more difficult ancestors. I will start by getting out copies of all documents to analyze and compare them together to see what type of web of information I can create.