15 Jan 2011 1 Comment
Blogging is a fantastic avenue when you begin to write your family history. Blogging allows genealogical researchers to write out their brick walls and frustrations. Sometimes other researchers are able to offer suggestions on how to break down those walls. For some researchers, just simply putting a research problem out there and walking away can lead to more success on that issue down the road.
The photo is of my great, great grandfather, Jan Zajicek. Family story is he lived in Chicago during the Great Chicago Fire and saved the dining room table during the blaze. I heard this story when I was in my mid-20′s and had just started researching. My initial thought was Jan was a married man working as a tailor and perhaps the dining room table was where he did some of his work. To me, it made sense he would try to save it.
Fast forward a couple of years and some major research time. I discovered Jan was not a married man but a teenager! He was working as a tailor but I was no closer to discovering the truth about the table. His family did live in Chicago during the time of the Great Fire, but my brick wall is locating his 1871 address. This remains a brick wall for me, but I have blogged about it so who knows. Maybe an answer will present itself or another blogger will suggest a resource I overlooked.
Some genealogists and family history researchers use blogging as a tool to publish their family histories. What does it mean to publish though? Publish means to write up and present the information to someone, whether it is a family member or local genealogy society, national journal, or publish an actual book.
Blogging allows people to explore many of their family history topics in depth and in a more shallow way. These blog posts can eventually become the beginning of a family history book. Blogging also allows connections to be made between researchers who share the same ancestors.
Where do you start to create a genealogy blog? Check out Geneabloggers. Thomas MacEntee, of High-Definition Genealogy has created a site full of resources for those just getting started and seasoned bloggers. Blogs are submitted and listed by type of blog. There are daily blogging themes posted to help provide blogging topic ideas. Thomas also posts interviews with people around the genealogy community, reviews of books and products, and online safety information we all need.
So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and go explore some of these genealogy blog resources and get started today. Leave a comment and post your blog if you begin. I’d love to stop by and read it.Tweet
14 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
There are many other family history resources available to discover preliminary genealogy information. I will list resources here but for more in-depth how-to get started on your research, see my list of resources below.
Major Resources for family history information
- Vital records
- Military records
- Census records
- Probate records
- Naturalization records
- Property records
- Published family histories
- City directories
Resources to help get you started
Free Genealogy Guide. I like this site because it provides free resources on getting started.
Blog of a Genealogist in Training. This site is run by a fellow Chicago-area genealogist. She is on a different educational path than I am so be sure to check her out to learn more about learning to research.
Geneabloggers. Need help getting started with research or writing or other topics? Check out a list of over 1,500 genealogy and family history blog topics.
Investigate these family history resources and begin documenting your ancestors lives.Tweet
13 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
Yesterday I looked at using Census records for beginning research. Continuing on my quest to explain how to begin genealogical research, let’s look at home sources today. There are many types of documents that family historians use to locate genealogy information. These include:
- Birth, marriage and death records
- Diaries and journals
- Address books
- Old day planners
- Recipe books
- Military records
- Previously completed genealogy records
- Funeral cards and programs
- Wedding photograph books, programs, etc.
- Books (those written by a family member or about the family)
The list above demonstrates many varieties of home sources where genealogy family data can be located. This list is not extensive. Each item should be evaluated, the information recorded and the source cited. When information on an individual differs between sources, note that. Additional evidence will be required to prove which fact, if either, is correct.Tweet
12 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
Census research is an important part of genealogical research especially when building family group sheets. Using the U.S. Federal Census allows researchers to help prove, disprove, and collect information on ancestors. These documents have been around since 1790 and are enumerated every 10 years. Records can also be searched for the same surname in the area in which your ancestor lived to possibly link new family together.
What information is available?
A U.S. Federal Census typically contains these items:
- Street Address
- Age or birth month and year
- Immigration and naturalization information
- Home ownership
The enumeration forms vary year to year. Additional fields that are included in some census years are:
- How many children born to mother
- How many children still living
- Veterans status
- Mother tongue
- Does the person speak English
- Employment information: status, how many days unemployed, occupation
Tips on using the census
It is important to start with the most recent census available and work backwards. Work with what is known to the unknown basically. Record all the information you find each enumeration on an extract sheet or in your family tree database. Note the source, where the information came from, so you can refer to it easily again if needed. Search on spelling variations because census takers did not always spell the names correctly or when the record is indexed to be searched online, the transcriptionist wrote it down the way she saw it which may not be the same way someone else sees it.
Where can I find the records?
Records can be found online at several paid genealogy services such as Ancestry. The National Archives has the records on microfilm. Family History Centers, major research libraries, state archives and state libraries are all places to check.
So what are you waiting for? Start researching your ancestors in U.S. Federal Census Records today! Their stories are waiting to be told!Tweet
11 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
Now that you have begun your genealogy research and completed a family tree, also known as a pedigree chart or ancestral chart, it is time to begin creating Family Group Sheets. These sheets record data on a specific family which includes the parents and their children. Download a sheet and let’s begin.
Completing the Family Group Sheet
Start by completing the top section with your information. This is good to record in case you travel with these sheets and one is lost. There is a chance it could be returned to you. Next, the family group sheet begins with the parents at the top of the sheet. Write the full name of both mother and father and complete as much information as you can.
Next, move to the children. Begin filling in full names, spousal names and all the vital information you know. For each fact recorded, note on the back of the sheet where the information came from. This means to document the book, author, page, publication place and date; the vital record type, certificate number, repository where it was found or the online database source. You are basically recording the detail of the source so you can return to it in the future and allow others viewing your work to know exactly where the information was obtained.
After completing the family group sheet, start outlining some genealogical goals. Where do you want to go from here? Unsure, check back tomorrow for a good next step to search, U.S. Federal Census Records.Tweet