Thursday, May 15, 2014

Recording Other Religous Events

As genealogies we are fixated on BMD(birth, marriage, death) but what about other significant events in peoples life, specifically religious events.  While you may not share the religious tradition with that person or know the meaning of the event, having it in the family history can be significant for future generations.  Having documentation (photos, invitations etc.) adds to the overall picture of the person. 
Beyond the wedding.  
While a majority of weddings have some kind of religion meaning affiliated with them and we note the date the two people married.  We should go beyond that for more religious families.  I heard a joke from a priest that the people now a days come to his church to hatch, match and dispatch.  (translation: baptism, marriage and burial).  If that is the trend, capturing religious events might not apply to your family.  

In some families it is significant and should be recorded.  I am talking about events like confirmations, first communions and  bar mitzvahs, possibly expanding to ordination into ministry.  These kind of events usually don’t grace the pages of our genealogy book, but it would interesting to see where and when granddad received a religious sacrament.

I’m not saying you have to record every place or time the little Joey goes to Sunday School (though you could).  But noting the significant events (that require a Hallmark card) no matter the faith tradition or your own understanding of it’s significance.  This could even be an opportunity to talk with someone about what it means to them to receive this event and include that in the genealogy too.   


Monday, May 5, 2014

Asking for a resume?

In the olden days people apprenticed for and became an occupation, usually in the family.  People were farmers or blacksmiths and that’s what they did.  In more recent times people worked for a company for a lifetime then retired with their pension (“Great Uncle Joe worked for Bethlehem Steel”).  You may not have the actual job but you knew he was a steelworker. As genealogist we had that information in the records filed under occupation.  

The problem is that occupation is not longer occupation.  People move from company to company and from job to job and it is getting harder to document all the transitions in peoples lives.  The solution is to get the information straight from the horse's mouth and ask for a resume.  If a person is willing to give a resume to a random HR person, why not the family genealogist?  

Having a resume tracks the timeline of where a person worked and what they did.  So if Aunt Sue was a corporate mogul then quit to open a cupcake shop, you have a record of it.  This does not even have to be the person’s “official” resume.  It is more of a work history with dates, company and job title.  Having this you can keep up with the past work history and come back for future changes.  

If the person does not have a resume just go through and ask where they worked, when and for how long.  Write up the work history and add it to the family story.

People are more mobile than ever and job titles can be deceiving about what they actually do. Asking for a resume and putting into your software is a novel way to document occupation.  So if a future generation goes to work for IBM, instead of saying "your Uncle Bill worked there in the 1980's" you can say "Uncle Bill worked there from 1985-1988 as a Systems Analyst in the Washington DC field office."