Genealogy: Researching directories

Researching directoriesBy Barry J. Ewell

Directories and member lists are the predecessors of the modern-day phone book. They listed the inhabitants of a locality with their addresses and occupation (and sometimes business address).

What you will find and research insights. The types of directories you will find and their value to you as a genealogist include the following: Continue reading

Genealogy: U.S. census records from 1790-1940 are available for researchers

U.S. census records from 1790-1940 are available for researchersBy Barry J. Ewell

A census is a government-sponsored enumeration of the population in a particular area and contains a variety of information — names, heads of household (or all household members), ages, citizenship status, ethnic background, and so on. Here are some different types of census records you are likely to come across in your research. Continue reading

Genealogy: Use and record what you learn

By Barry J. Ewell

When doing family history research, a vital part of the process is evaluating the results of your inquiry and sharing your information with others.

I ask myself the question, “What do I see?” Sometimes what I find is only a clue; other times, it’s a gold mine. I record what I learn in my research log. At this point, based on the information I’ve gathered, I decide where I want to go and start with step one again. Continue reading

Genealogy: Field research is required # 2—Barry’s experience, John Lee in Knoxville, Tennessee

Field research is required # 2—Barry's experience, John Lee in Knoxville, TennesseeBy Barry J. Ewell

It was 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had driven just under five hundred miles from Washington, DC, the day before in order to meet John, a distant cousin. We were both descendents of Permitt Lee, who had lived in the 1700s. I descended through his daughter Sarah, and John descended through his son Sam. We had corresponded over the previous three months and agreed to meet. Continue reading

Genealogy: Field research is required # 3— Barry’s experience, Otis, Kansas

Field research is required # 3— Barry's experience, Otis, KansasBy Barry J. Ewell

Following the passing of my stepfather, Mel Wagner, I desired to learn more about his family and lineage. It took six months to locate a daughter from a previous marriage. She shared with me that she had heard that an “Aunt Katie” somewhere in Kansas had records of the family, but she wasn’t sure how to locate her.

With another three months of searching, I was finally able to locate her and set up a telephone interview. In the telephone interview, Aunt Katie shared with me that she was living in a nursing home, that she was in her late eighties and the last living survivor of her generation, and that her son had the record she had created about the Continue reading

Genealogy: Field research is required # 4— Barry’s experience, Arizona War Memorial

Field research is required # 4— Barry's experience, Arizona War MemorialBy Barry J. Ewell

During a family trip to visit Hawaii, we took the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial. We learned from others that it would be wise to start early if we were going to beat the crowds to the Memorial. We arrived at 8:30 and were able to get tickets for the 9:45 a.m. program. During our hour wait we took the opportunity to review the many exhibits throughout the courtyard. The highlight of the wait was listening to a volunteer who had been at Pearl Harbor. He told us of his experience that morning of Continue reading

Genealogy: Organize your research #2— Review your records before you go on your trip

Organize your research #2— Review your records before you go on your tripBy Barry J. Ewell

It’s important to go over your records very carefully. Review every printout, photocopy, note, and Internet record. Know what you have and what you don’t have, and make a to-do list of what to find. The basic genealogical advice is to work from what you know to what you don’t know. Please do not take your entire notebook; rather, take key notes that will aide in your search during the trip. If you are bringing your laptop, you may already have all the details electronically.

Remember there are records available in the United States (such as parish records at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah). Concentrate on what’s not available here.