If you are going to spend a half-day traveling across town to interview a family member, a full day traveling to a cemetery two hundred miles away to take pictures of family headstones, or several weeks abroad searching your family roots, having clearly defined goals will help you focus on desired outcomes for your research. Being able to state your goals will require research, preparation, and prioritization. Continue reading
Whenever possible, I make it a prac¬tice to collaborate with other genealogists on researching specific family lines. As a team, we will review our research, analyzing docu¬mentation, notes, and logs; identify the key questions we want to research; develop a research task list for researching each question; assign tasks and deadlines; and schedule regular meetings to review, compare, and discuss projects and research. Continue reading
Ask for documentation. Never be shy about asking for documentation from another researcher when they have shared information with you. Again, without the paper records in hand, nothing is proven.
Always verify. There is never a time when you should not verify information you have received.
Through the years, I have found critical errors in what I downloaded. It often appears that genealogists wanted so desperately to extend the line or make a connection that they jumped to conclusions in their research, which caused other genealogists to research Continue reading
US Census records are available for the years 1790-1940 and can include names, dates, locations, and occupations. You can also discover and verify vital information through the Social Security Death Index and birth, marriage, and divorce records. Additional life information can be found in immigration, naturalization, and military records.
Find your ancestors faster when you see your family in the times and seasons. Learn background information about a place, group or subject, including:
- History (of places or groups)
- Geography (of places) Continue reading
Never take anything at face value. Finding your ancestor’s name does not guarantee that you’ve found the right ancestor. Remember that nothing is truly fact until you can back it up using more than one resource. When searching multiple sources, I have found the records I need in the same location or area in which my ancestor lived. Always ask yourself, what records were created in this location during the time that my ancestor lived here?
The most important concept I learned about searching for records is to think of events, not records. Rather than searching only for birth or death certificates, ask yourself what other types of records the event would generate in the time period the event took place. Continue reading