Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Quicksheet

Actually there are three new ESM Quicksheets. They sold out quickly at RootsTech.  Eventually I will probably talk about all of them, but the one I like the best is The Historical Biographer's Guide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle). This concept was recently the subject of discussion on the APG list and I am glad to see that Elizabeth has it down on a piece of sellable piece of laminated paper that will reach thousands. FAN in my mind is the number one methodology for breaking down brickwalls, a much easier concept to talk about then "doing the neighbors".

We honestly don't know our ancestors, we just from a distance think we do. But family, associates and neighbors of your ancestor did know them. And by asking those FANs we can find answers to our questions. Sometimes, when our ancestors do not tell us, directly or indirectly about themselves the FANs will let slip the information that will allow us to prove identity, origin and/or parentage of that much too quiet ancestor. To my mind in situations that stretch the need for a reasonably exhaustive search to not apply the this principles means that you have not conducted a reasonably exhaustive search.

Most genealogical problems exist because we fail to put the fat on the bones, aka create the context that our ancestor lives in. There is a a context of community that gets forgotten about when the research is easy and therefore is forgotten about when the research gets hard. This Quicksheet will remind us of the pieces we need to create that community context.

ESM provides us with the problems and the work-arounds and demonstrates how to apply the principle to the sources and the records. She expands on the FAN principle in ways that I have thought about before, like collecting others of the same surname (the old Clan Scott Genealogist in me is smiling) and the associates of the associates (somehow degrees of separation in today's world seem impossibly small, but I don't imagine that within a community they were much larger in the past).

For me to continue would be a little much, except to say that this Quicksheet is a must have. Of course you knew that before I started. There is no ESM Quicksheet not worth having.

978086318943   102-3868   $8.95 + sales tax and shipping

Available from Genealogical Publishing Company, Heritage Books, Maia's Books and Family Roots Publishing. Don't think we will find it on Amazon yet.


  1. Thanks for the heads up on the new Quicksheets (all of them actually). I wasn't aware that there were new ones to begin with, let alone one focusing on the FANs. How great!

  2. The other two are Quicksheet: The Historical Biographer's Guide to Finding People in Databases & Indexes and Quicksheet: Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images, Evidence Style.