Keeping a list of specific research techniques and resources is important.
Back in March 2013 for FamilyTree.com (Check-off List -Ten ideas to check off your Genealogy Check List!) on the first ten suggestions for your list were offered. The following are ten new additional ideas that you might want to consider completing so you can check them off this important list.
FIRST, transcribe family letters, journals, diaries and generally any hand-written papers from your relatives. It is so easy to over look what was written. You may think you know what your ancestor totally said in the written piece, but until you have typed out each sentence, each word, will it make sense in all its details. I have uncovered numerous bits of information by doing this that was previously unknown.
SECOND, search the online free Find-A-Grave for any headstones photographed of ancestors. There are many people who take nice sharp photos in their local cemeteries and post them on Find-A-Grave, even if they are not related. Others will also get the obituaries from the local newspapers and then post that with the headstone photo. I have found a good deal of information thanks to the volunteers who add the photos and OBITS to the site.
THIRD, Google or use some other major search engine, to search a specific relative’s name, or an unusual surname. Add with it using the plus sign, the state they lived in. You will be surprised what could turn up. If nothing yet, try again in 3 months.
FOURTH, have ready in time for Christmas, gift tags with vintage photos of individuals you have gifts for. For your sister, for example, print on card stock a digital or photo copy of her when she was a kid – say age 6. Don’t put her name on the tag, just her photo. You can add your photo as a kid as the one giving the gift. Everyone loves getting these tags. Works for birthday gifts also. See FamilyTree.com about Family Photos.
FIFTH, do a backup of computer with your family research. That backup (Backup – see this link on FamilyTree.com) needs to be done on different devices such as on a disc, on an exterior hard drive, a thumb drive (flash drive) or in a ‘cloud’ (electronic off site Internet). In fact, use all these to make sure it is all backed up and secure. Just imagine if you lost any of your research or scanned documents / photos — the time making it all up.
SIXTH, is there a family myth or legend you have heard for years. Take that one story and concentrate solely on it — find out one way or another the truth through researching every available document, newspaper, living relative, letter, etc.
SEVENTH, all our ancestors came across the ‘pond’ in one form or another – we are a nation in the United States of immigrants. This is true of those also in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Latin American nations and most African nations. So spend some solid research time and resources finding the immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record (their manifest). Once you locate which ship they came on, see if you can locate a photo or illustration of it. Read in FamilyTree.com about one of the entry ports – Castle Garden.
EIGHTH, take a trip to the National Archives in Washington, D. C., one where you can spend some quality time. Research there can not be done overnight but will be so worthwhile. Reminder, the archives have branches across the country, maybe near you. If it will be awhile before you get there, do go through everything they have online.
NINTH, if you have a ‘brick wall’ (and who doesn’t), devote your next research session (or two) solely to solving that problem. Can’t find the maiden name of your grandmother on your mother’s side; there are death notices, obituaries, letters, marriage licenses, birth records to check completely. Also search using their sibling’s name, that can be very successful approach.
TENTH, is to review what information you have gathered to date on a certain family branch. Don’t do all the branches at once, too confusing. Just concentrate on one line and review to see what still may be missing or doesn’t look right. If you have your grandfather married in 1911 and yet you have him born in 1899, that is a bit young and will need to be checked again.
Photos: Christmas photo tags, thumb drive, immigrant ship and brick wall.
See part one here: Check-Off List – Ten Ideas to check of your genealogy Check List!
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