Preparation pays solid dividends

    These days, when everyone is so busy, whether you get out and physically travel somewhere to do research, or whether you do it online, you should prepare first. This means you need to decide who and what you are looking for, and gather at least the basic facts about them, so you have it near to hand when you find something. For example, I have two Peter Brawns in the family line; father and son. Having both their birthdates beside me makes it easier to know if I have found info about the father, about the son, or about some other Peter Brawn.
Family Searcher    I use the Internet more than I actually get out and do physical research at a library or other facility, although I actually prefer onsite physical research. I think you are more likely to find those special little gems that really bring your family story to life when you get out and search. I love to hold a book or, even better, an actual historic document relating to (no, that’s not a pun) my family.
    Having said that, though, it doesn’t matter where I find new info, it is always a joy. There is an amazing amount of new information, or new ways to find it, being added to the Internet every single day! Really amazing! One of the ways to access this info is by using a search engine, like Google or Yahoo; another search engine developed just for genealogy is www.mocavo.com.
    Mocavo is a free search engine and you can also subscribe to a free Mocavo newsletter if you wish. In addition, Mocavo has come out with a paid service called Mocavo Plus, which has one benefit I have been waiting years for someone to add to their research website; the ability to indicate whether the information you have found is helpful or not, and then Mocavo Plus “remembers” your choice, and doesn’t keep showing you the same results.
    Beyond just facts, there are other kinds of genealogical help out there. I am excited about one I just learned about in the Mocavo newsletter. The National Archives of England and the United Kingdom (TNA) just created a handwriting tutorial website called “Paleography: Reading Old Handwriting 1500–1800.” It actually lets you practice reading and transcribing old handwriting, Before this tutorial, the most a researcher could do was hope he or she was getting it right. The way it works is the program lets you transcribe a handwritten document online. Each time you submit a line, it tells you how many words you got wrong, and which words they were. You can then go back and try again, or move on to the next line. You can ask for a hint to help you with the words you got wrong. In addition, the tutorial helps with historical background information, abbreviations, etc.
    The web address is: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/ Even if you don’t want to practice your skills, you will find many valuable hints here. Hope you visit the website soon.
    Editor’s note: Nina G. Brawn has lived in the Dover-Foxcroft area for over 50 years and currently lives there with her husband Fred. Nina was the last of 10 children, has three children of her own and nine grandchildren. She can be reached online at ninagbrawn@gmail.com.

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