#1 Way to Break Down Brick Walls – Trick to Making Cluster Research Faster


What is the number one way to break down
your brick walls? In my opinion it’s a strategy called cluster research or
cluster genealogy it’s also known as the fan club a term coined by Elizabeth
Shown Mills. In short it means researching all of those who interacted
with your ancestor meaning friends associates and neighbors in addition to
their family members. In just a moment I’m going to show you a trick to make
part of that research so much easier and faster. Hi I’m Connie Knox a lifelong
genealogist and if you’re new here welcome. Make sure you hit the subscribe
button and ring the bells so that you get notified next time I upload videos.
My goal is to make those videos worthy of your time. Now last Saturday I
uploaded a video about cluster research in case you missed it there’s a link
right at the top of the screen, but before you go, check out this tip… it’s a
complimentary piece to that video and it’s a trick I developed to make sure
that you can do this cluster research so much easier. Check it out here’s how it
works. Okay so I can’t wait to show this to you
so we’re gonna jump right in so every good research project starts with the
research question and my research question revolves around Henry Gustov or
Gus Henley we don’t know who his father is
and Rebecca his mother family lore says that she took it to her grave as to who
the father of her children were she enjoyed having children around but
didn’t care much for them in so this is Rebecca she is my second
great-grandmother and I am trying to find who my great-grandfather’s father
is so in an effort to find him one of my male cousins on the Henley side took a
whi DNA test and it came back all of the results for that y DNA test came back
with a surname of Davis so I am on the hunt for a Davis male who would have
been about the right age at the right time in the right location when Rebecca
here conceived Henry Gustav Henley when she was about 30 years old so in order
to do that I love this trick you’re gonna love this so Rebecca probably
conceived Henry in 1861 because he was born in
January of 1862 so looking at the 1860 census we see Rebecca here on image
number 8 now this is the trick in order to do proper cluster research we want to
find all of the people that she was associated with so I am looking for all
of the Davises within her community about the time of 1861 who would have
been of age to father a child so here’s how I did this so so she’s on image
number 8 and what you want to do with cluster research at least for the census
part of it when you’re dealing with this record is you want to search at least 5
if not 10 images either side of your subject so here our subject being
Rebecca I’m gonna go all the way back to page 1 and probably go forward to about
page 15 I’m gonna change this to page 1 and this is the part you’re gonna love
all right so we’ve got all of these people in and around Randolph County
North Carolina where Rebecca was living at the time so what we want to do first
is get all this information off the top and then put it into an Excel
spreadsheet so here I have an Excel spreadsheet where I have put my research
question who’s the father of Henry Gustav Henley in his birth date in
Randolph County North Carolina why DNA matches show that all all the
matches have a Davis surname I have copied all the information across from
the top of the census records so that I can later create a proper source
citation and I’ve also created it copied the link from page 1 okay so we’ve
copied all of this information from page 1 so now here’s the trick that you’re
going to love if you go down here and you open up this window and I’m I’m on
ancestry and if you open up that window you can see all of the names that have
been transcribed out of the census records so what you do is you click in
here anywhere it doesn’t really matter and you go control a and
then you and that’s the so that you highlight everything okay then you go
control C to copy everything and then you go back over to your Excel
spreadsheet and you go ctrl V to paste and watch what happens all right so now
everything comes in a little wonky at first but we don’t care we’ve already
put all this information in here so we don’t need all of this goofy information
but what it does is it pastes in all of the information from that census page so
what I’m going to do is I’m going to come up here and I’m gonna if you click
in the in the column and you highlight I’m gonna go in here and I’m going to
delete out all of this minutia I don’t need in fact I’m going to keep on the
first page I’m gonna keep the headers in here so now all of this other stuff is
highlighted I’m going to right click and I’m going to delete and what it’s done
is it has created and you’re gonna get this funky drop-down then you can’t help
that it’s gonna be there whether you like it or not one thing I do like to do
is I insert the line and I say this is image number one I’m going to type the
word image here image and a 1 you know what I also like to do and there’s a
reason for this you’ll see it in a minute is I’ll put a 1 here and I will
drag this down to the length of image 1 okay and then on image 2 I will put a 2
here and I will start with image 2 so let’s go back over to ancestry for a
minute and now we are going to page 2 and we’re gonna do the same thing again
doesn’t matter where we click anywhere in here
ctrl a to highlight everything ctrl C to copy ok so now I’m coming back to my
Excel spreadsheet and I am going to paste all of this information in here
ctrl V to paste all right so you write once you’ve highlighted all of your rows
you right click delete now we’ve got image to pasted in here we
want to continue on with our number two in the column for the length of image
two now in the interest of time you would keep doing this you keep going
through and you can see that you’re getting all this information now what
you can do also is you can come up here we want to be able to see all this
header information no matter where we are in the list as you can see it
Scrolls up and we’re like oh boy I don’t know what these numbers mean anymore so
what we can do I’m gonna put the word image in here too so we know what that
is and just for fun I’m going to make it
all black font because I like things nice and clean and neat I’m gonna make
it bold and we can open up the cells just a little bit to make it look
prettier make sure that all the font is placing properly we can make this word
wrap a little bit better and now what we can do is we can freeze this column but
in order to freeze this column we have to highlight this column the first one
in the scroll so everything up here will be locked and to do that we highlight
from this not over here but over here in in the numbered column then we go to
view and we go freeze panes and we say yes we want to freeze those panes and
now what happens is anywhere we are as we scroll the headers stay there so if
you’re not familiar with Excel that’s a nice little trick also these colors that
are in here are holdover from when we clicked over here it picked it up from
where we were on the screen so in order to get rid of that all we have to do is
highlight from the top and we go to the bucket here and we say no fill and now
it gets rid of all those colors now this is the part you’re going to love so in
the interest of time I have done all of the pages already
I did 15 pages images excuse me images from ancestry and as you can see if we
scroll down I’ve got a lot of information in here actually 16 pages
worth okay so now we want to pull out just the Davises and we can do that by
filtering you can actually filter by one column by coming over here and in
choosing filter this filter right here is the one you want and what it does is
it puts a drop-down menu here and then you can sort by you can turn off all of
them and we can go through and we can find just Davis say okay but what that’s
done is it’s given us everybody in all 16 pages of documents just the Davis
surname which is awesome but we’ve also got females in here that we don’t need
so what I’m gonna do is I’m going to ctrl Z to undo that and I’m going to
show you a different way you can turn on the filters by highlighting all of these
and then come back and hit the same filter which turns on the selective
filtering and now we can do multiple columns so here I can go turn off select
all scroll down I’m gonna find all of the Davises now we’ve got males and
females but up here I’m gonna come up here I’m gonna click away so you
actually see the whole screen here so now I can click away and I can deselect
that and say I only want the males and now I have a short list of potential
male Davis’s that could be doesn’t mean they are but it could be the father of
my great-grandfather so as I’m looking around and I know that Rebecca was about
31 years old when she conceived hmm here’s a guy who’s 30 years old here’s a
guy who’s 39 years old so these guys are persons of interest
and through process of elimination I would go through and start working on
how that now if you’ll notice this says 12
October this is because the data imported this is actually a child who
was 10 months old in ancestry it says 10 over 12 which might look like a date to
excel so that’s an error it is actually a 10 month old child so this person is
definitely eliminated the five year old is eliminated right
I could actually come in here and I could colorize things if I wanted to I
could turn this gray and say these guys are no good this guy is a possibility I
want to do more further investigation on him and the reason why I put page
numbers or image numbers over here was because if you’ll remember Rebecca was
on image number 8 and my gut instinct is that someone within walking distance is
probably the father of this child so image 13 is five images away I’m not
exactly sure how far away that would be from Rebecca but I think he’s probably
close enough that he could be a potential we’ve got a 16 year old one
never knows we’ve got these two guys are proud of this guys probably too young so
we would gray this one out James is 75 years old is probably not likely if I’m
gonna go out and do some more research I’m probably gonna start with the guys
who I’ve got highlighted first or at least most likely 51 year old male maybe
40 year old 39 year old all of these guys could be potentials and so here we
have a 76 year old not likely so we’re gonna gray him out and so now we’ve got
a list a very short list of 5 Davis men who could potentially be the father of
my great-grandfather so now the next thing you would want to do is do some
more research on these five guys on the short list and really kind of digging
and find out you know this particular young man there’s only one page away
from my great-grandmother this guy these two guys are all five images away you
know so we go and do more research on all of these guys we research the
descendants we find out if any of these guys have other associations maybe
they’re in the church with the same church that Rebecca belonged to perhaps
they work together I don’t know but we go into more research on all these guys
then we research the descendants of these men and find a living male
descendant or just a descendant and do some more DNA testing and see if there
isn’t a match of the descendants of any of these guys so that’s how you can
triangulate my previous white DNA matches with the most common ancestor so
if any of these guys have a descendant who has a a s– the same common ancestor
as my ancestors then we likely got the answer to our research question and so
there is my not quite some quick and dirty trick to pulling out a lot of
information very quickly and one last little tip if you come up here and look
at the filter when I was scrolling through this list I noticed other names
in the family there’s a Henley and a Henley and by the way this helps group
together by the various spellings right and then I also noticed some other names
in this list Winslow is another one that you could sit there and use this file
over and over and over again to find other associations in the cluster and
other family members that might be related you might even find somebody in
a document a witness in a document that is totally unrelated and go back to this
list and search for that person and see where they are in the community
well there you have it I hope that makes your cluster research a little bit
faster tell me do you use tricks like this to help gather your data for
cluster research tell me in the comment sections below if you like that please
give me the thumbs up and subscribe and ring the bell so that you get notified
of the next time I upload videos until next time keep on climbing your family
tree you

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