Tag Archives: fan club

Village Genealogical Society Seminar

villagesI am VERY excited to be presenting an all-day seminar to the Village Genealogical Society and the Akansa Chapter, NSDAR on 17 September 2016. The seminar will be held at the Coronado Community Center, 150 Ponderosa Lane, Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. To register visit this website http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~arhsvgs/ or click here:  VGS Workshop 2016 Flyer and Entry Form (pdf).

The group has picked some fantastic topics. I will be presenting:

  • “Census Hurdles: How to Jump Over or Go Around”
  • “From Deeds to Dirt: Case Studies in Analyzing Research with Maps”
  • “Cluster Research and the Fan Principle: Finding Your Ancestors through their Friends, Associates, and Neighbors”
  • “The Heart of it All: Migration Research Methods”

This seminar will begin with some foundational research record sets and methodology (censuses and maps), and then build on those lectures in the afternoon with two methodology lectures. The “Cluster Research” lecture will explain the FAN Club principle (thank you Elizabeth Shown Mills) and demonstrate some of the best methods for identifying your ancestors’ FAN club. The second, “The Heart of it All” will bring together all of the records, techniques and methodologies from the day into a final case study on determining one family’s migration route and their reason for moving.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity and I hope to see some of you there!

Lessons from Moving: Part 3

Our recent migration path
Our recent migration path

We are taught in genealogy lectures to examine our ancestors’ friends, associates and neighbors because often people associated with relatives and/or moved to different locations with of associates who were not relatives. In pondering this concept and comparing it to my current situation, I am struck by how different our lives and connections are now than they were for our ancestors.

No one moved with us. It was my husband and myself, our two kids and four pets. Our nearest relatives now live over 3 hours away, relatives we are getting reacquainted with but that we weren’t really close to prior to moving. The only people we knew in Austin were acquaintances, our realtor, and I happened to know of a few genealogists in the area as well. My husband doesn’t have an actual office yet at the building here because the project is so brand new they aren’t done building it and organizing all of the employees on the project yet, so no real work friends for him yet. The point being that if you tried to find a “FAN Club” reason for our move you couldn’t.¹

I imagine to future researchers the migration patterns of today look a lot different, more confusing perhaps than those of our ancestors. Generally speaking, the patterns of US migration generally move from the east coast to the west. (I know this is a big generalization and I have several exceptions in my research.) Also, generally you can locate groups of people who migrated together. I’m sure it happens today, but I would guess not as much. We are a lot more independent, less support is needed from our family and neighbors for survival. From grocery stores to gas stations, indoor plumbing to wi-fi, we generally have everything we need or can find it for ourselves.

Does it feel more isolated? Or maybe it’s just me still adapting to a move and still finding my new network of friends, associates and neighbors. Don’t worry. We are adapting. My next posts will be on how we are working to build our new FAN club.


1. The “FAN Club” principle is attributed to the work of Elizabeth Shown Mills. Elizabeth Shown Mills, QuickSheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle) (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012). Also see, Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (www.evidenceexplained.com : accessed 27 May 2015).