Today I am going to be writing about my recent experience with the New Jersey State Archives. I previously told you about what they did find for me. This time I’d like to tell you about what they didn’t find. As always, if you’d like to learn more about the Genealogy Do-Over, head over to Thomas MacEntee’s page, now called Abundant Genealogy.
My order from the New Jersey State Archives
Back on May 24th, I made an online order to the New Jersey State Archives. I am trying to fill in where I’m missing documents for my ancestors. That means my first step is heading to the Order List of my Genealogy Log, where I’ve been tracking the records I need to find. Note: These are also entered as “To Do” items in my genealogy management program.
As you can tell from the screenshot, I only have Priorities “Done” and “High” checked in my Priority column. Filters are my favorite thing about Excel. With this New Jersey order I decided to start putting what date the records came in. This way I can start tracking how long it usually takes to get a records request back from somewhere.
When I was looking through my Pedigree, I realized I still have an “Abt” date for the birth of Jane Parkin. That was my deciding factor in ordering the birth records of Jane Parkin and Clifford Redford. Adding Clifford’s in was a little bit of a bonus because I knew what his date was from multiple records. Since I was asking for a search for Jane’s record, I added a bit of a guarantee that I would at least get something back when I added in Clifford’s record.
What I received from the New Jersey State Archives
Now the question becomes, What do I do with this information? It might be easy to shrug off and say, Oh well! The problem being 10 years down the road, I won’t remember what I actually searched for at the Archives. That’s not helping my new and improved tracking methods either. The great news is that I have a Search Attempt tab in my Genealogy Research Log. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here, I just need to write down what was searched and what was found… or in this case, not found.
My Search Attempt Log
This log was up and going months before I sent away for my New Jersey records. What I found reassuring was that when I went to enter in information for this search, I didn’t have to change a single thing about my log. The required fields were already in place. I must be doing something right these days!
The Archives gave me what databases they searched and the criteria used. That made is easy to just fill those into my log like I actually did the physical search myself. I made sure to add that the index record on Family Search was a newspaper article.
Not Quite Done
That’s not the end of the line yet. I still have one more step to do.
As you can see, at the top of this list of files is the scan of the form the archives sent back to me. It’s right there and at a glance I can see that I still need the birth record and I can see quickly what was already searched.
Man, I just can’t believe how sporadic my research has been over the last 8 months, but how the organization methods and processes are keeping me right in line! I can also update you a little and say that since this record search, I found Jane’s siblings in a birth index with their father being listed under his middle name Walter. So that’s my next step!