Once you know what information you’re looking for, ask yourself where you might find it. Then choose one source or record to on which to focus your research. For example, if I had the objective of finding the birth date of an ancestor, I would ask these questions: “What type of records could I find a birth date in? Where are these records kept? How do I get access to the records?” And so forth. I then record all questions, thoughts, and findings in my research log. Continue reading
Every research project begins at home. Whether you are looking for information for the first time or searching through your personal research folders, your home is a valuable source of family information.
Take time to look for records you might already have. Use the following list as a guide to sources of information that you might find in your home or in the home of a relative.
- Birth: Birth certificate, adoption record, baby book
- Citizenship: Alien registration, deportment papers, naturalization papers
- Civil and legal activity: Bonds, contracts, guardian papers, summons or subpoena Continue reading
Genealogy is a skill requiring preparation and planning, detailed and exhaustive research, and careful correlation, analysis and reporting.
Preparation and planning
Develop a research plan based on analyzing and defining the research problem you seek to resolve. Preparation and planning requires that you place the problem in its legal and social context, identify related and associated individuals, and identify relevant resources, tools and methods, as well as the pros and cons in the use of those resources. Continue reading
I have always been a fan of detective stories. My father was a detective for the Las Vegas police department during the 1960s. In his later years, I enjoyed listening to his stories of how he was able to crack the case after careful research and analysis.
As I read and listened to the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Conan Doyle, I noticed that Sherlock used the same strategies as my father.
I thought it would be fun to create a personal research project where I would use Sherlock Holmes as model. What would Sherlock Holmes do if he were a genealogist? My intent was to see if I could uncover and understand the principles and then apply them to my own genealogy research practices. The results of my project dramatically changed my approach to genealogy research. I’d like to share with you what I found. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered which libraries, archives and historical/genealogical society could help in your genealogical research?
The following 51 articles highlight the libraries, archives, and societies where you will be able to find genealogical resources in the United States.
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How-to effectively research libraries and societies
It’s very easy to start researching one line of thought, become interested in another, and change direction, all in a matter of a few minutes. Soon you’re surrounded with papers, documents, names, dates and locations and are left with a head full of swirling questions.
You will find your research more productive if you clearly identify your research goals, develop a research plan and focus on their completion. The following are a few ideas for keeping your research on track and manageable. Continue reading
Questions and answers are the foundation for exchanging genealogical information. We have many ways to learn, but by simply asking questions, we set the stage for learning and also for sharing what we know.
Narrow the focus of your questions. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of questions that need answers. It’s been my experience with genealogy that the further back I go, the more questions I ask. Continue reading