What have I learned from my second client?

Yes!  I have a second client. I took Michael’s advice and put out my need to a limited group of friends. I very quickly got three responders for 10 hours of pro bono work

I will work on all and report here but the first one built on my recently obtained Civil War expertise. She wanted to know if a family tradition was true about a Civil War soldiers in her maternal line. While I was unfamiliar with PA and OH records it was fairly easy to work the lineage back to the era in question.

In the end, I was certain that one ancestor served; two were probable Civil War veterans but one of the two I couldn’t document the connection to her ancestor and the other I could connect but there were too many of soldiers with the same name and I couldn’t identify exactly which one of the 16 were her ancestor. The fourth person was likely to have served but because of an early death (before 1870) he was proving difficult to trace.

I was proud of the final product but there were some things I wish I had done differently. It was great fun sitting down with her and reviewing the findings together.

Some things learned:

  1. Sometimes simpler, i.e. targeted, is better. 
  2. It’s a little more challenging to decide whether to write a separate report or to just include the findings in a letter. 
  3. I source my information on each exhibit with Avery labels.  That is working great. 
  4. I used the book Professional Genealogist as a reference. I am glad I had it. 
  5. I still spent more hours than ten to do the work. It was OK. 
The good news?  She decided to hire me to look at another tradition in her family!  
Happy hunting!
Things I have done since the last posting:  turned in my final assignment for the class for the 2nd Qtr.  completed Mary’s project. Now I have to bundle it up and send it to her. Got three new clients and completed one of the three.   Got a new paying client!  Woo hoo.

4 comments on “What have I learned from my second client?

  1. legalgen says:

    Good for you! Keep up the good work!

  2. Erin says:

    First, I want to thank you for sharing your journey to certification. I am starting to do the same for myself and reading about your experiences is enlightening and comforting.

    Could you please elaborate on the use of labels to site your exhibits? I am always looking for better ways to present information.

    Thank you!

    • jkmorelli says:

      I don’t know if this is better but I always look for an easy way to include the citation on copies of documents that I make. Previously I have used a citation “shorthand” but for certification I cannot rely on that anymore. I have worked up the following process:
      1. I use Avery labels 5960, which are basic mailing labels. They also are available in clear but I like the white ones because if the print (e.g. census) is over the entire page, you wouldn’t be able to read the source because the copy would bleed through.
      2. Download the template from the Avery site for template no. 5160. It’s free and is PC compatible. I have a MAC but have the Word set of software for MAC. Keep the template open.
      3. I enter the source in my database and enter the data.
      4. I use The Master Genealogist (TMG) and it works great as it is very “sourcing-centric.” I am not sure how other programs work, but I can preview the citation with TMG. I can copy that preview and paste it directly into one of the Avery labels. Mine pastes in at 10 pt. which seems too big and I take it down to 9 pt. One source was so large I had to take it down to 7.5 pt. so it would fit. This gets the entire citation exactly as it is recorded in any report.
      5. My printer requires the labels to be fed face down. When I have either a full page of sources or I have completed the work, I run a copy and then just peel off the label and put it in the lower right hand corner of the source.
      6. If you have extras at the bottom, not to worry. The next time, just enter the citation in the template where you have the label, skip the ones where the label does not exist. Print.

      Most genealogists say you need the citation on the front page and not the back, because if someone copies the source but doesn’t copy the back they will miss the citation.
      Others may do it differently and I would enjoy hearing how others do it.

      • Erin says:

        Genius-I love the idea of cutting and pasting instead of using my sloppy handwriting on the photocopies! Thank you for sharing.

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