Genealogy: Research techniques for societies, libraries, archives & special collections

Icon-Research Skills-MethodologyBy Barry J. Ewell

As a genealogist and family historian, you already have a great insight into research and how to find the answers.  In fact, you are pretty resourceful in finding and following clues.  As you broaden your research into the local, county, regional, and state resources discussed you will find that much of your research will fall into the working with and exploring “primary” sources.  You probably already know the following research techniques, so the next few lines may be a review. Continue reading

Genealogy: United States —Comprehensive library and society resource list for all 50 states

libraries, societiesBy Barry J. Ewell

As this article was being researched it became very clear that links to United States genealogy and historical societies, libraries, and archives are scattered throughout the web.  None of the resources are complete, yet all must reviewed to make sure you have not overlooked a possible source.  Many of the resources are compiled on lists of varying names while others are buried on page 50 of Google search. Rather than give you a few links and say Continue reading

Genealogy: Prayer is the most important tool I have as a genealogist

Genealogy Prayer is the most important tool I have as a genealogistBy Barry J. Ewell

I have thought a lot about the topic of prayer and genealogy and just how to approach the concept without offending or preaching. Prayer is the most important tool I have as a genealogist. I remember one of my very first experiences as a genealogist, where I had chosen to work on one family line with very little success. I felt the need to include prayer but didn’t. As time went on, I became more and more frustrated. Continue reading

Genealogy Immigration/Migration: Methodology of how to find the origin of your immigrant ancestors

Methodology of how to find the origin of your immigrant ancestorsBy Barry J. Ewell

Genealogy is a process, a methodology, for finding our ancestors. There are many tools available, but knowing what to use and when to use the tool makes the biggest difference.

I remember many years ago when I was a Boy Scout, a member of our troop became lost. The first thing many of us did was rush right out and start looking in the wilderness and calling out his name. We had no record of who had gone where or what—if anything—was found. Any evidence that may have been found was trampled over. When evening came, we built large bonfires, hoping he might see us in the dark. As the morning came, we gathered as a troop and discussed what we remembered and what we knew Continue reading

Genealogy: 150 questions to ask family members about their lives

Genealogy 150 questions to ask family members about their livesBy Barry J. Ewell

Well-crafted, open-ended questions can yield fruitful results when you interview family for purposes of family history. The following is an outline of questions you may want to consider. Take time to tailor the questions to the person you are interviewing.

When you are ready to conduct an interview, have the questions in front of you to make sure you are getting the information you desire. Conversations about family can go many directions. When possible, record the interview on audio or video.

  1. What is your full name and why were you named that? (Maiden name for females)
  2. Were you named after someone else?
  3. Did you have a nickname as you were growing up?
  4. If you did, what was it and why did they call you that?
  5. Have you had any other nicknames as an adult? Continue reading

Genealogy: Choose a record or source of information

Choose a record or source of informationBy Barry J. Ewell

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

Genealogy: Home is a valuable source for family information

Home is a valuable source for family informationBy Barry J. Ewell

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