Tuesday, May 20, 2008

County Grenealogy

Time for a little genealogy humor.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Hampshire Genealogy Links

Many New Hampshire Libraries and Historical Societies provide links to both local and general links of valuable to family tree researchers.

I'm providing a few of them here.

Lane Memorial Library: Hampton NH Area Genealogy

New Hampshire State Library: Genealogy and NH History

Conway Public Library

New England Ancestors

Manchester Historic Association

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's Spring! Rejuvenate Your Research

Is your genealogical research becoming stale? Are you hitting the same brick walls?

With Spring quickly approaching it is time to jump-start your genealogical research. How can you do this?

1. Begin with your computer. Clean out and combine like files relating to your genealogy in appropriately named folders. Make sure any scanned photographs are clearly identified.

2. Go back to some of the message boards you posted long ago, and re-post your request. Make sure the SUBJECT LINE of your post is succinct but includes at least a name/surname, location and approximate date. Include enough information in your post and make sure readers have a way to contact you.

3. Revisit HeritageQuest, GoogleBooks, Google, etc. These are free (HeritageQuest is free at least through your local library). Many new records and resources are popping up on the Internet. A lot can change even in 6 months.

4. Create binders and organize your paperwork. No more piles against the wall!

5. Back up your computer (I mean it!) With the ease of "memory sticks" available there is no reason to lose your data when your computer crashes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Quick And Easy Research

Do you have a genealogical brick wall? A Smith or Jones line that drives you crazy?

If you haven't done ALL of the following yet, do it today.

1. Search for your individual on Google Books. If you find them listed in a book that is not free or viewable, copy down the information and BORROW the book through your local library (interlibrary loan system).

2. Post (even if you've done it before) a QUERY or QUESTION about your family or surname on Rootsweb message boards, both under the correct SURNAME, and the LOCATION where they lived. Make the subject line the entire name of the person, plus their birth/death dates and where they primarily lived. Include as much as you know in the body of your request. 99% of those that are left unanswered were just too vague.

3. Contact both the local and the county historical society for information about your problem person or family. Many times researchers will donate a copy of their research to a local historical society. Just remember to donate a copy of YOUR work to them if you get a breakthrough.

4. Contact both the local and county library for the same information found in #3. Libraries are often the most under-utilized sources for genealogical material.

5. Visit your local library. Most libraries now routinely carry both HeritageQuest AND Ancestry.com as free services to their library patrons.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Forgetting What Is In Front of You!

If you work long enough at it, you will eventually hit some sort of "brick wall" in your genealogy. If you figure that 8 generations back you will have 256 6th great-grandparents, it easy to accept that one or more of those lines are bound to cause you research problems.

Before you start hunting for documents, I always recommend that you seek out the OLDEST members of your known family, on both your parents sides... whether they be parents, grandparents, uncles/aunts or cousins. They carry the family "stories" in their brains, that you will never be able to match with certificates and deeds.

Interview them, ask them for personal anecdotes, the skeletons in the closet, and a description if photographs are not available. These will be precious clues in your research.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Photographic Archives: Hidden Clues

A much overlooked portion of genealogical research are online photograph and document archives.

Some of my favorites that are completely searchable by keywords and they are FREE! And please do not ASSUME that because an archive in Michigan, it won't contain anything about New Hampshire... you are so wrong.

American Memory

Google Books

Cornell University's "Making of America"

Digital History

Google News Archive

Harvard University VIA (Photographs)

The Internet Archive (Photographs, Documents, Newsreels)

Michigan University's "Making of America"

New Hampshire Political Library

NPS Historic Photograph Collection

NYPL Digital Library

Photographic Archive of Michigan

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Quick Ancestor Search

I've heard the darndest excuses why it is too difficult to locate an ancestor on the internet. There are an amazing number of resources out there, and many of them are free.

Here are some simple tips on researching a name....

1. Start with Google, but use the advanced search. This allows you to view more than 10 results at a time. If you know the location where they lived, or their wife's name, include that one of the search keywords.

2. Next move on to Google Books. Even though the Google Search engine may be producing some links, you should still search specifically using the book search engine. Ditto on including as many keywords as possible to narrow your search, if the name is a common one.

3. HeritageQuest - this is a service that is available, for free, at your local library. Many libraries allow you to access this service from home, via your computer. The plus side is that you can get hundreds or thousands of "hit" results. The down side is that the search engine is not 100% accurate. If I know the location where my ancestor lived, I will also use the "Place" search on their town and county. Once I find a history for the town they lived in, I will double check the index of the book for more information on their family. I've hit paydirt many times by doing this. Also don't forget to search on an ancestor's WIFE's name, or on a child if their name was unusual.

4. Rootsweb. As much as you should show caution when looking at individuals through a search engine on Rootsweb, the information may at least point you in the right direction.

5. Do not forget to post your research question on family research message boards. When you post make sure the TITLE of your post is very specific. Do NOT post: Seeking John Smith. Instead consider being more specific.: John and Joan (Jones) Smith of Portland Maine