How A Genealogy Should Be Written

Posted by on

By Amanda Forson,

Many genealogical researchers look for relatives and are hungry to know how to share their hard-earned findings. What is a model for a good genealogy?

The database, known on the site as The Descendants of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott, is a great model for a well-researched genealogy. Genealogies through the years have often been fabricated to give the contracted party legitimacy to govern. The fabrications frequently including references to ancient royalty, prophets of the Bible, and on occasion, even deity (be it Zeus, Christ, or otherwise).

While the author does not mean to offend those who cherish such genealogies, current research often disproves these lines quickly and without apology. Such genealogies are leads for current research but unless they can be proven with as-close-to-the-primary-source-as-possible documents, then they are unlikely to be accurate. Page after page throughout the book, The Descendents of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott, a Godfrey Library database, shows primary documentation.

The narrative story comes alive because the documents are included in entirety, highlighting the family in question. The format is useful and favorable. Some highlights of the genealogy include transcribed documents, indexes of names of relatives and non-relatives, estate inventories, deeds, vital information, pictures of houses, etc.

When the book was published, it was the fashion to abbreviate states of the United States, so they may be overlooked as the formatting of the time. Present-day genealogies should always spell out names, especially since abbreviations can be confused between countries. The author of this book, Jared Sidney Torrance, was the founder of the city of Torrance, California, and was a real estate developer in Los Angeles, dying shortly before the establishment of a hospital in the Torrance area .

His genealogical interest first started at the age of sixty-three (1915-16), when he found letters from his mother. Mr. Torrance subsequently completed research for this book during the next five years, by using only a few hours a day. The genealogy was published two years following the researcher’s death, but as the explanatory notes at the beginning of the book indicate, the notes were included, and all that was needed for publication purposes was the final index.

Although not a professional genealogist, or a professional historian, Jared Sidney Torrance’s genealogical legacy is an organized, methodical book that is a model for future researchers. Especially considering that he did not use his entire lifetime in research, but did it a few hours at a time, he was able to produce a quality genealogical book worthy of inclusion in the Godfrey Library, and online through

“Jared Sidney Torrance,” [Accessed 12 May 2008.]

Leave a comment