Using mixed methods

Creating a profile using mixed methods

When the pickins are slim

Most of the articles written so far discuss creating ancestor profiles using what you have in your home. My goal is to leave my children with a sense of who their ancestors were as people, not just names on a paper. To accomplish this, I am creating ancestor profiles–essentially this person’s life story–using the antiques, heirlooms, documents, and photos in our possession.

Sometimes, there isn’t much to work with, meaning, it’s time to get creative.

butterfield_edna m hendricks_b30 july 1879_wife of carl butterfield_pic taken 1956_106 Kreb St Charlotte MI in Mabels back yard_rod was here

Edna May Hendrick Butterfield, 1956, Charlotte, Michigan

We are very fortunate to have this photo, and the clues written on the back. This is the only photo I’ve been able to find of Edna Butterfield, my great grandfather’s sister-in-law.

To create a profile for her, I used several methods: this photo, the notes on the photo, Ancestry, city directories, marriage, death, and birth records, a funeral pamphlet, her obit, Google Books, Google Images, Google Earth, memories and stories, and photo matching. I cannot stress enough the importance of photo matching.

To read the full post about how I collected information for Edna’s story, you can click HERE.


One of my goals with story genealogy is to add depth to a story. In the case of Edna, all I had was the photo, her funeral pamphlet, and her obit. That was ground zero. I’d done some research on Ancestry, but honestly, until I began piecing together her story, she was little more than a name on the page. I was able to collect quite a bit of information about her using the methods mentioned.

If you are able to create a profile using many of the methods we write about here, let me know if you’d like to share your story.

Happy Profiling! ❤

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