From the hours, locations, collections, and rules of repositories to listings of extant historical newspapers, a locality guide can put oft-referenced information in one place for easy access. You can purchase general locality guides for states and some cities; some of my favorite guides are the NGS state guides, Val Greenwood’s “The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy,” and Ancestry’s “Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.” At the local level, genealogists benefit from keeping more their own locality guides geared toward their specific research. Read More »
I’m participating in ProGen32, a peer study group “to encourage professional and aspiring genealogists to put into practice the principles found in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.” Our first assignment was to prepare an education plan, and I thought I would post mine here. As a longtime amateur genealogist, I have only begun within the past 2-3 years to learn and implement professional standards in my research. Although I am not sure whether I want to pursue certification, I do want my research to be at the professional level whether it is for me personally or for hire. Read More »
I love finding tools that make my workflow easier, and WorldCat is one of the “secret weapons” that makes my research easier and more effective.
As you might guess, WorldCat is the world’s largest library catalog and is available online. Instead of searching the card catalog of individual libraries, WorldCat allows you to obtain results from all of their member libraries, which include public, university, and state libraries in addition to sites like HathiTrust. While visitors can search without registering, what I love about WorldCat is the functionality available to registered users. Registering is free and gives users three great tools: favorite libraries, lists, and tags. Read More »
The genealogy world was rocked yesterday by Ancestry.com’s announcement that they are discontinuing Family Tree Maker. First and foremost, understand that your version of Family Tree Maker is not going to turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. What are the implications of Ancestry’s announcement, and what should FTM users (and Ancestry users who don’t use desktop software) do now? Read More »
Have you actually hit a brick wall or have you just not checked the right places? There are times when all of us think we have hit a brick wall, but in many cases we just haven’t exhausted our resources. I have at least 2 lines where I have hit what appears to be a dead end, but in reality there are records that I have not checked. Sometimes this involves in-person research to use resources not available online, but often we can further our knowledge using online resources before we have to visit a repository. Read More »
As amateur genealogists, we often don’t know what we don’t know. Terms like GPS, conflicting evidence, exhaustive research, citation, triangulation, and others can leave the new genealogist overwhelmed and ready to head back to our favorite online service for the low-hanging fruit. If we are going to do this research thing, we need to education ourselves. You never know when it will pay off in a completely unexpected way, and no one wants a family tree with someone else’s relatives in it because they just didn’t know any better. Read More »
In looking for a pumpkin template featuring a family tree, I found nothing so I thought it would be fun to upload one.
The detail in the template makes the use of the thin blades necessary. You can find a pumpkin carving kit that includes knives with thin serrated blades at just about any grocery or big box store this time of year. Read More »
For those of us lucky enough to have recordings on cassette tape with valuable family history information, finding a way to preserve those recordings for future generations can be a challenge. I’m pretty comfortable with technology but it still took me awhile to figure it out, so hopefully what I learned will help someone else. Read More »
The first time I visited a courthouse for research, I had no idea what to expect and prior to arrival was quite intimidated. I quickly found that finding your way around is usually very straightforward and using the records is fairly consistent from locality to locality. Since some of the most valuable genealogical information available is sitting – in many cases undigitized – in courthouses, it is worth pushing through the fear factor. Read More »