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Archiver > APG > 2009-06 > 1246030325

From: Michael Hait <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Theory discussion - "Cluster genealogy"
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 11:32:05 -0400
References: <COL108-W511689F9848342CC51465592340@phx.gbl><B9894E334F234C358600E02303793BE1@ChristyPC>
In-Reply-To: <B9894E334F234C358600E02303793BE1@ChristyPC>

> From:
> To: ;
> Subject: Re: [APG] Theory discussion - "Cluster genealogy"
> Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 16:49:56 -0600
> I know that I, for one, will be looking at one of the books you suggested.
> For our purposes would you recommend one above the others? I would also be
> interested in reading an article similar to the one Elizabeth has proposed.
> I wonder if this wouldn't be a perfect article for TIGTAM? I understand that
> they are looking for submissions.

TIGTAM is another market that I have considered, for either this article or another similar article that has been bouncing around in my head.

> I find my approach to cluster genealogy has, to this point, been based on
> intuition more than an orderly approach. Has anyone developed a useful way
> to organize the data gathered on an individual's network? I'll be dreaming
> of excel spreadsheets tonight <vbg>. A few groups of associates come to mind
> right away: members of the same church congregation, the same profession,
> those living in geographic proximity, those linked by shared military
> service. I'm sure I'm missing a few. How do you gather associates?

I have also been trying to think up ways to organize these networks. I actually discussed a few options in my old blog back in November: http://bit.ly/9L9MR

One of the most important ways that I use associations in genealogy is in my study of slave communities. When tracing free African-Americans in 1870 back into slavery, it is vital to obtain as much information, and reconstruct as great a social network as possible. Especially with the communities that I am researching, where very few slaves used their master's surname, the only way to trace them effectively is to identify groups living together as a family - whether blood-related or not.

Gathering associates can come in so many forms: witnesses to documents (though you have to be careful with this one - sometimes witnesses are just clerks of Justice of the Peace), census neighbors, immediate family, in-laws, co-grantees/co-grantors/co-trustees, others who served in the same military unit, etc. The list can go on and on. As Elizabeth stated in her response (love the visual, btw), it is useful to work in a "bull's eye" pattern of concentric circles, moving further away from the subject, as needed, to locate the necessary information.


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