Tips and Techniques

Inevitable road blocks and occasional questionable information has presented us many challenges in researching our family history.  Here are few tips and techniques we used to over come those obstacles.
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Manual for the genealogist 1861 Great Britain – In 1861 Richard Sims wrote the manual for the genealogist which provides some potential sources you may not have considered.

Lessons in genealogy – published in 1915 Lessons in genealogy by the Genealogical Society of Utah may give you an interesting perspective on genealogy research long ago.

Ancestry Magazine – Several years of Ancestry Magazine are available for free via Google where you can browse the issues or do a custom search. To conduct a custom search (limited to Ancestry Magazine articles) you need to select an issue which then brings up the “Search Inside” dialog box.  From there you can search for a particular word or phrase in that particular monthly issue or check the “search all issues” to have it search all available issues.  For example if you are looking for inspiration on a particular topic such as civil war, adoption or divorce you can “search all issues” for that keyword and find articles which may get you back on track.

Microfilm Tips – Our first experience researching was at the local library using the microfilm machines.  We had a great experience and learned some helpful lessons about becoming organized.

Military – Hit the Books – In addition to searching the traditional on-line service providers you should search online digital books for military related information.  Our website has identified hundreds of books.

Over reliance on someone else’s family tree –  It is great to come across a relevant family tree created by someone else that can extend your search.  While it is great to leverage the work of others you do need to proceed with caution until you gain a personal sense of confidence in their conclusions.

Primary document research – Relying on work done by others can help but at certain points in the process it is necessary and beneficial to work with primary documents.  These documents offer many additional clues and insights.

Spelling of Names & Name Changes – A great many of your searches will be name based and that process can be frustrating given the reality that the spelling of names are inconsistent, change over time and are effected by translation, marriage and divorce.

Alien Registration –The Alien registration process happened during both WWI and WWII and can be an additional source.

Old online digital books – There is an abundance of old digital books available from sources such as the Library of Congress.  Old books, especially those printed prior to 1930’s typically contain much greater detail, including names and places, than books produced more recently.  Old digital books are often available in multiple formats including some which allow for full text searching.

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