Pages may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure page for more details.

Resource Library Links

I'm updating the Resource Library. If a link you click to sign-up does not work, try this link instead.
31 January 2017

More Reverse Genealogy

Last week I wrote about what reverse genealogy is and why you'd try it. Today is "Backwards Day" so I'm covering how to research backwards (as in forwards, wait... what?)


To recap, reverse genealogy is researching from the past to the present, the opposite direction, or backwards, from what we normally do.

Last week I mentioned some uses for genetic genealogy and traditional genealogy as well as cases where non-genealogists might want to try reverse genealogy. How to go from the past to the present is easiest to understand with traditional genealogy so I'll start there and then move to harder situations.

27 January 2017

Finding Aids vs. Library Catalogs

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and I recently learned about a new finding aid that is appropriate to share today.

Last week Upfront with NGS shared a notice they had received about the newly released online inventory of the International Tracing Service (ITS). You can read the post (with the link to the inventory), here.

Realize this is a finding aid, not online records. If you haven't used finding aids, it's like a library catalog for a repository collection, sort of.
Do you know what a finding aid is? How can it help your genealogy research?


Some finding aids are incredibly in-depth, allowing you to identify exactly the record you want to access. Some are not even as detailed as a traditional book library catalog. There may be a catalog for the repository and finding aids, just a catalog, or just finding aids. It depends on the repository.

The level of details given in a finding aid depends on the collection and the creator and every variable that affects those two aspects. You will see in the announcement published on the link above, that it mentions "preliminary or superficial indexing." That means someone has looked at the material. The "material" could be the boxes the records are in, not the actual contents.
25 January 2017

What's the Opposite of Genealogy?

Today is National Opposite Day in the U.S. I have no idea why. I tried to look it up and the answer was, "no one's sure." I was just looking for "__________ Day" to give me ideas to mix up the topics on the blog. I think Opposite Day generated and important topic, "reverse genealogy."

Do you know why you'd need to research descendants instead of ancestors? You might be surprised how it can help your research.


What is reverse genealogy and why do you care?

First, I wouldn't say reverse genealogy is the opposite of genealogy. I won't be answering the title question, I don't know what's the opposite of genealogy, maybe hiding your ancestry? Reverse genealogy can help you if your family tried to hide their ancestry.

Let's get back to what it is, though.
18 January 2017

A round-up of bits from around the Internet

I often find posts I'd like to share with readers but they don't warrant me writing a whole post about them. So, I'm going to try the "round-up" style post with bits of information from around the Internet. Right now, I don't expect to publish this regularly but we'll see.

This is also a way for you to learn about other sources for information, genealogical or not.


From Up Front with NGS (the official blog for the National Genealogical Society)

NEW Chrome Extension Takes You to Wayback Machine for 404 Page Codes!!!
I've already installed this extension I was so excited about it. I'll go months without needing the Wayback Machine but lately, I seem to use it a lot.
As an example of how you might use this (if you never have)... Not too long ago I was reviewing a post from my business blog and found one of the links no longer worked. The company blog it linked to no longer existed (they were purchased by another company). The purchasing company didn't keep the blog. I was only able to get the article through the WaybackMachine. Needless to say, I saved an offline copy.

If you've ever saved a link/URL for research and then later found it didn't work, the Wayback Machine can save you (and then you'll learn not to just save a link, time-consuming but necessary).


Three Posts to Check Out

There are three similar posts I've read recently I wanted to point you to. All three have different takes on "newbies." Not in what they feel about them (I'm listing them because all three are all for supporting new members to the genealogy community) but in the purpose of the post. They're all similar, though, in making sure seasoned genealogists aren't "that guy" that is turning newcomers away (some do it on purpose but many do it unintentionally).

If you're new (or just feel you're new), you will hopefully get the feeling you're welcome. Should you come up against someone full of negativity, you can hopefully take Jenna's advice which is why I've included it.

I had previously read Kerry's post (before Amy linked to it) and it made me stop and look more closely at my DNA matches and think about what she said.

When you're in your genealogy bubble (those moments when you're just thinking about doing genealogy, not about playing nice with others in the sandbox) it's easy to forget what you say and do can have more impact than you mean. You often feel like you're just one of the genealogists but someone else sees you as someone with experience (if you're reading this, you are probably more experienced than many of the people who have taken an AncestryDNA test, even if you're just getting started).

I appreciate the sentiments from these ladies. We've all been new at genealogy at some point. Being courteous and welcoming to those coming behind you (even if you're barely in the door) is important. It's one of the reasons I've stuck with genealogy so long. I love getting together with my fellow genealogists. It was the first group I actually felt I belonged (despite, at the time, a 20+ year age difference between me and the average genealogist).

Let’s Stop Hand Wringing About DNA and Genealogy (Amy Johnson Crow)
Genealogy Changed Dramatically in 2016. I Can Prove It. (Kerry Scott from "Clue Wagon")
Genealogy Elitism, Shake It Off This Is Your Journey (Jenna Mills from "Desperately Seeking Surnames")


Do you know about Family Tree Magazine's monthly challenges?

For January it's 31 Days of Family History Fitness
You can subscribe to these via email or check them out on their website (the above link)
If you like my series, "The Lunchtime Genealogist" this is similar but without the narrow focus of tasks you can do during a lunch break and also a changing focus each month.

Have you found an article on the Internet you'd like to share with other Occasional Genealogists? It doesn't have to be something new, just something you loved or found helpful. Share a link in the comments and briefly tell us what you liked about the article.
13 January 2017

Cousin Baiting: What is It, Should You Do It?

Cousin baiting is exactly like deer baiting in its purpose which is why the term is used. Not from a long line of hunters? Confused?  Should you put out a pile of grandma's cookies to lure your cousins in? And why would you want cousins to come around, anyway (is that only a question with my family)?

05 January 2017

Resolve to Do More Research

This post is a follow-up to last week's "resolutions" post. I suggest heading over to read it first, if you haven't.

This post is specifically about resolving to do more research, not just more "genealogy" which involves more than just research. If you want to do more research, you need a realistic understanding of what time you have available and what else you need to do genealogically. The first post covers those topics.

Research is the fun part of genealogy (if you didn't think so, you wouldn't do genealogy at all). Failing at resolutions is awful so I want you to make the right resolution for YOU. "Do more research" just isn't actionable enough.

Here's a "secret." If you do the right non-research tasks, you'll be so excited and prepared to do research, it will happen. Unfortunately, those "right" tasks are personal to you so I can't just hand you an easy list to get you to that magic point where you make more research happen. Go read the resolutions post to start thinking about what it'll take to create an actionable and realistic "do more research" resolution.

OK, at this point you've either read the other post or you're not going to, so let's talk about doing more research.
How do you create an actionable resolution to do more genealogy research? Customize it to your situation using these suggestions.

The Key to More Research but Not the "Do More Research" Resolution