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It's time for resolutions! Get excited, genealogy resolutions mean you're going to do genealogy. That is so much more exciting than getting up at 5 a.m. to try and run when it's freezing outside. I'd rather do genealogy than plan a healthy diet. Hey, if you want those things, slap your laptop on a shelf across your treadmill or just forget to eat while you're engrossed reading newspaper records from 1887. That's some serious multi-tasking. But let's talk seriously about genealogy resolutions. ...
Finally cornered Aunt Nadine only to be unable to make chronological sense of her tale? It's a chronic problem for genealogists. Inaccurate answers in oral history interviews have nothing to do with the mental acuity of the interviewee, it's human nature. Luckily, there's a pretty easy fix, one often employed by professional genealogists on their clients. Instead of trying to get dates out of your relatives, rely on markers they won't get wrong. This means you'll need to ask some additional questions and it's best if you have some historical knowledge you can use to supplement the timeline. Also, you'll want to "verify" your markers because we all get things mixed up sometimes. How do you do all this? Simple, relate an event that is chronologically unclear to something the person finds fixed. The problem is, you don't know what they find fixed. On top of this, some people have no problem lying and others essentially lie because they...
Happy Winter Solstice. It's the shortest day of the year so I'm thinking about shortcuts and quick tasks I can do. A quick way to start is with a list. I'm still working on that bullet journal concept I mentioned a few months ago . I have a really hard time putting unrelated items on consecutive pages and the appeal of a bullet journal is not having preset sections. However, I'm still loving the idea of using bullet journal "collections" for genealogy (in other words, keeping lists of genealogy "stuff"). You can keep your list wherever and however you want. The suggestions in this post are inspired by genealogy resolutions and planning for the New Year. I'm a huge fan of not limiting resolutions to January but I often find mentally setting a date to start resolutions helps. This can let you plan (or procrastinate) for a SHORT time and still get that warm fuzzy feeling of kicking off some new phase of your life. Below are three more genealog...
This post is for (what I consider) the quintessential Occasional Genealogist. It is for the busy person who's only chance to do genealogy is on their lunch break (or perhaps during naptime if you're a stay at home mom with children who still nap). This series is tips with advice and encouragement to achieve real research results in a whole bunch of small segments of time (your lunch break). You will need some supplemental research sessions but you don't need to know any details about that ahead of time. You'll figure it out when it's time. This post isn't going to lay out all the tips. I don't think that would be the easiest way to achieve results day after day (and I know there will be days you don't do genealogy, so don't worry!). Instead, I've started a "series" via my Instagram account. Each work day there is a tip posted around lunchtime (eastern time). These are bite-sized tips, something you should be able to accompli...
Last week I wrote about using automated searches as a shortcut instead of a cheat. This week I want to go into detail on how to deal with records for the wrong person. I use Ancestry.com's online trees so some features might be specific to that site. In general you can do this for any online tree (and even adapt the concept for offline). ...
For U.S. genealogy research, census records are a key record. If you aren't from a location with centuries of vital records, census records might be the first record you used. There's a good chance if you're reading this, you consider yourself pretty familiar with U.S. Federal Census records. So let's test your knowledge. Answer the following questions based only on census records. About a specific family Did your family own a radio? Did they rent or own their home? Did they live on a farm? Did they have a mortgage? Could they read or write? Did they own land? If you see it on the census What race does "Ot" stand for? Do you know what "Pa" means in the naturalization column? What occupation is "Secy.?" How did you do on the quiz? Did you know you could find this information in census records? Do you know how to find out what the abbreviations mean? You can find this information, and much more. ...
Did you know genealogists are argumentative? I've been in this industry so long I don't know if this is something "special" about genealogists or (more likely) something you'll find in any group full of passionate people. One "hot topic" I've heard being argued is using automated searches. The example I think most people are familiar with are the "shaky leaves" that appear on Ancestry.com trees (I mean, they feature them in their t.v. ads, how can you not know about them?). Sometimes, if I'm with a group of professionals, it's not an argument you hear. Instead, it's more of a gripe fest. Why? Professional genealogists see a LOT of cases of "cheating" using automated online searches. It can make your job really hard. However, I actually love using automated searches as a shortcut . It's important you understand the difference and use automated searches as a shortcut and not a cheat. ... use automated ...

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