Genealogy: Detailed, exhaustive research will yield success in genealogy pursuits

10-15-2014 7-54-06 PMBy Barry J. Ewell

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

Genealogy: 9 tips to focusing family history research

9 tips to focusing family history researchBy Barry J. Ewell

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

Genealogy: Researching land records

Researching land recordsBy Barry J. Ewell

One of the major factors influencing our ancestors coming to America was the availability of land. There is a high likelihood that your ancestor can be found in land records. It is estimated that by the mid-1800s, as many as ninety percent of all adult white males owned land in the United States. Continue reading

Genealogy: Researching civil vital records

Researching civil vital recordsVital RecordsBy Barry J. Ewell

Civil vital records—for births, deaths, marriages, and, sometimes, divorces—denote the key milestones of our lives and are the cornerstone of family history research. Vital records can offer details often found through no other genealogical resource. Adoption records are also considered to be vital records but will not be covered in this section. Continue reading

Genealogy: Researching probate records

Researching probate recordsVital Records 2By Barry J. Ewell

Probate records (which document the process of passing property, both land and various goods, on to one’s heirs) are one of the major types of records used in genealogical research. Heirs may be anybody the testator (the person who made the will) chooses to name, including servants, in-laws, friends, and others. Wills and other papers created during the probate process are often the best possible source to document relationships Continue reading

Genealogy: Use your camera to document your research

Use your camera to document your researchBy Barry J. Ewell

Use your camera in your library, archive, or museum research.

Consider using your digital camera as a tool for documenting and capturing information you find in your research. If you have never used your camera in your library research, practice in your local library under all types of conditions, including very low light. Again, the time to learn isn’t at a cemetery 2,000 miles from home.

Digital photography is all about lighting and location
The first problem you will always face when it comes to photography is lighting. I use flash less than 10 percent of the time. Instead of flash use natural lighting (near a window), light stands with diffusion screen and lights, or a self-contained photo Continue reading

Genealogy: 80/20 principle

80/20 principleBy Barry J. Ewell

The most important task at hand is not necessarily the most urgent or easiest task; it’s the most important task. For example, I may have as one of my tasks that I want to go to a regional library to conduct research. While going to the library is important, calling the library and finding out information such as hours of operation, collections to search, and names of staff that can help me with my specific research are my first priority over going to the library. Continue reading