Tag Archives: sources

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

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

The Complete Peerage

My latest addition to my genealogy library of resources has been a CD copy of”The Complete Peerage”, compiled by G.E. Cokayne. It was originally a 14-volume collection of texts with the full title “The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant & Extinct or Dormant.” It documents all the noble titles (Earls, Dukes, Barons, etc. ) through the history of Britain between the 1100s up until contemporary additions in the 1900s.

Like most antique books, the Complete Peerage CD is a collection of scanned pages from the originals. The volumes are arranged in alphabetical order so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding who you need. You do need to know that the entries are done by the name of the Barony or the Earldom, not by the actual family names of the individuals. This can be a little tough if you don’t know the names of your ancestor’s titles, but it is worth browsing through even if this is the case. (more…)

11 Jan 2013

The National Archives

American National Archvies for genealogy research

The National Archives of the United States

When doing any genealogy research in the United States, you will undoubtedly end up finding some sources in the National Archives.  It’s one of the greatest collections of historical information in the country. You’d best know how to use it.

Where are the Archives?
It’s not just one building so you can’t just show up and tour all of the Archives at once. The complete collection of material is actually housed over a number of different locations, including museums, libraries and smaller archive centers. The main facility is in Washington D.C, where you can also see historical icons such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is the main place where researchers go but it will depend on the documents you are particularly looking for. Their website has a list of all locations and the details on visiting and seeing materials. (more…)

06 Jan 2013

Lineage Societies

general-tree-diagramMost genealogists will come across the term “lineage society” at some point in their research, and it can help to understand what they’re all about. You may even be lucky enough to qualify for membership, if your family tree has the right branches.

A lineage society is a group of people who can document their personal ancestry back to a particular and relevant place, event or group of people in history. Some are small and mainly unknown, but some are social powerhouses. (more…)

27 Dec 2012

Criminal Records

criminal records and genealogy

Criminal records can hold some genealogical treasures

Everyone who studies genealogy is always on the look-out for that next notable person they discover in their family tree. Someone famous or even just someone interesting. But not all notoriety is the same. You may find you have some relatives who are “famous” for the wrong reasons. I’m talking about those criminals and other law-breakers that we all have in our trees.

Now not all criminals are going to be of the same calibre, and many are likely just small time issues. But no matter what your ancestor’s crimes were, you can be sure that there are going to be some documents for you to uncover.

When we talk about criminal circumstances, it can include all sorts of different things. Accusations, arrests, trials, fines, penalties, jail stays and more. You may even discover some executions. The various kinds of criminal records and scenarios will vary by location and era, since the justice system has changed so much over the centuries. (more…)

26 Dec 2012

Latter Day Saints Genealogy

genealogy and the latter day saints

The LDS Church is a great resource in genealogy

If you have been doing online genealogy research for any length of time, you are surely stumbled across the various resources belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (known more simply as the Mormons). Ever wonder why?

Believe it or not, it is actually an official part of the LDS belief system to do research and record your personal genealogy and family tree information. Since I am not personally a member of the church, I will admit that my information has come from a variety of sources so please excuse me if I make any religious errors. I’m a genealogist, not a theologian. For more on the religious background, you can check out the official LDS homepage. (more…)

25 Dec 2012

The Dawes Rolls

If you are doing any research into Native American ancestry, you’ll want to get familiar with the Dawes Rolls. They are known as the Dawes Rolls after Henry Dawes, who was in charge of the documentation. The documents are more officially known as the “Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory”.

To encourage the native population to accept Federal laws and the rule of government, this commission offered each person a plot of land for homestead as long as they agreed to be registered and accept the authority of the United States federal government. These rolls document all those who applied from the “five civilized tribes”, or the Creeks, Choctaws, Seminoles, Chickasaws and Cherokees. More than 100,000 people signed up and are documented in the Rolls. (more…)

24 Dec 2012

Tanguay’s Dictionary

Since my father’s family is French-Canadian, I’ve been looking into resources that target this genealogy area. My most recent purchase as been a digital copy of the Dictionnaire genealogique des familles canadiennes, complied by Rev. Cyprian Tanguay. In English, the title of this collection is The Genealogical dictionary of Canadian families. It’s really better known just as Tanguay’s Dictionary (or dictionnaire Tanguay).

It’s a 7-volume work filled with vital record information (including dates and names for births, deaths and marriages) spanning the time between 1608 and 1760. It’s limited to the Quebec region of Canada, though that shouldn’t be much of a limitation since that is where most French-Canadian families lived at that time. (more…)

18 Dec 2012