FAN Club: Friends, Associates, Neighbors

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 »

Courthouse Genealogy Research 101

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 »

My Favorite Sources for Genealogy Clues

There are lots of place that genealogists look for clues that will lead them to discovering the next generation in a family tree, but two of my favorites are death certificates and death notices/obituaries. Depending on the state, a death certificate may give you the name, years married, and birthplace of the deceased along with the cause of death, the date and place of burial, the next of kin’s signature, and the names and birthplaces of the parents of the deceased. Death notices are more likely to list the names and hometowns of siblings and children. Read More »

Getting Started with Genealogy… What I Wish I Had Known

Twenty-two years ago when I bought my first how-to book about genealogy, I couldn’t even imagine what would be available to the amateur genealogist just 10 years later. I am still learning (and making lots of mistakes), but my interest is more serious, my research is more detailed and well-documented, and my criteria for accepting the validity of claims is more stringent than even a couple of years ago. I could have saved myself countless hours and quite a bit of frustration if I had known just a few important tips before I started entering data in my family tree software. These 5 tips will help you avoid frustration down the road. Read More »