Double Dating

double dating genealogyIf you’ve been doing any genealogy research from the 1500s until the mid 1700s, particularly in any English or early American regions, you may have noticed a little anomaly with the way dates were recorded. Specifically, dates with 2 years. A date such as “January 6th, 1692/3” would be such an example. In genealogy, this is known as double dating.

I found several instances of this personally, and always attributed it to some sort of clerical error or even that the year was being estimated. But after a while, I started to wonder and did a little further research. There was quite an interesting story behind this after all. (more…)

04 Mar 2013

Alaska Vital Records

The state of Alaska only started collecting vital records around 1913, so the state will only have material going back that far which gives it a much narrower window for genealogy studies. Individual courthouses or even churches may have documentation that is older. (more…)

01 Mar 2013

Alabama Vital Records

Most vital records in Alabama will range from 1908, though some counties will have records older than that (back to 1880 if you’re lucky). If you need to get copies of birth or death records from Alabama, here is where you can get started on your search. (more…)

26 Feb 2013

Starting a Family Newsletter

start a family newsletter for genealogy

How to start a family newsletter

Your existing (and still living) family is one of your most valuable resources for any genealogy research, so don’t squander it. Try to stay in touch with as many people as you can so that you can touch base occasionally and continue to learn about your ancestors from them. Putting together your own family newsletter is a great tool for connecting everyone together.

Just remember that this is an ongoing type of project, not something you toss together because you are trying to harvest some names as a one-shot deal. If you want people to get involved, you have to stick with it. The purpose is to create an ongoing resource for the whole family, not just something your your immediate genealogy needs. (more…)

15 Feb 2013

Getting Started in Genealogy

starting genealogy studies

Getting started with genealogy

By Terri Wilson

You’re getting interested in finding out more about your family tree, your ancestors and all things genealogical? That’s great. So now where do you begin?

The very first step for getting started in genealogy is record what you already know. That makes your foundation. Take notes with printed pedigree sheets or start using a software program. Fill in all the names and dates that you already know. Even if you don’t immediately know the years of your relatives births, at least record the month and day if you know it. Basically, everything and anything. (more…)

11 Feb 2013

Basics of Vital Records

vital records in genealogyVital records are the absolute cornerstone to any genealogy research so you really need to have a good understanding of these documents and what you can learn from them. The term refers to any files that pertain to a vital event in someones life, such as birth, death or marriage. Divorce records are sometimes grouped in here too.

These will create the basic framework when putting someone’s life together. And each of these types of documents can provide a lot more information than just a name and an event date. Some vital records can give you loads of data, but the specifics will vary from area to area since these are not standard documents in any way. (more…)

09 Feb 2013

Census Records

Census records are a valuable and unique form of genealogy resource and its certain that you’ll be using them at some point in your research. Knowing what they contain and how they work is a good first step.

In America, there have been national census counts since 1790 and there has been one every 10 years since then. They are not all available online, but you can find many years in searchable or transcribed databases.

The first 1790 census was pretty sparse and didn’t hold the same type of information you’ll find in later years. That count only had the name of the household head, counts of the number of males and females (without names) and the number of slaves owned. Some of the 1790 census records have been lost or destroyed over the years and are no longer available. (more…)

07 Feb 2013

Using a Microfilm Machine

using a microfilm reader for genealogy

A typical microfilm reader in a library

Even in today’s modern world of Internet and digital resources, there is a place for the lowly microfilm machine. If you are going to be doing any in-person genealogy research at smaller or older libraries, you’ll need to know your way around using one.

Over the years, many archives of newspapers and periodicals have been kept on microfilm because it takes up far less space and that was really the only format available at the time. Even old books may be kept this way. More and more libraries are moving towards digital options, old material is still on microfilm more often than not. (more…)

03 Feb 2013

Old Newspaper Resources

old newspaper research

Using old newspapers in genealogy

In this age of digital archives and online databases, its easy to forget the old-school sources like print newspapers. But you really should take advantage of old newspapers if you get the chance because you can find a lot of genealogy information in them.

Birth announcements, marriage notices and obituaries are the most obvious but there are other areas that a newspaper can help you with. You can find: (more…)

02 Feb 2013

Kinds of Old Photographs

kinds of old photos

What kind of old photographs do you have?

In my earlier article on how to date old photographs, I mentioned that you should see what kind of photo it is in the first place. The size, format, paper type and other little factors can help you figure out its age. Now I’ll get into a little more detail so you can establish what kind of photo you have.

Over the history of photography, there have been 3 materials for photographs. They are paper or cardboard, metal and glass. Of the three, varieties of paper and cardboard are the most common, and that is what I’m going to focus on for this article since that is likely what you are looking at. Paper photos came in certain styles or sizes over the years, with 3 general formats: the carte-de-visite, the cabinet card and the photo postcard. (more…)

26 Jan 2013