Mar 2019

Getting to the Source of a Family Record

I’ve mentioned this record before. It’s the family record my great-grandmother Anna created and distributed in 1979 that identified the children, siblings, parents, and grandparents of her and her recently deceased husband. Being twelve years old and having never wondered about any of these people, I was thrilled to suddenly consider them. Being twelve years […]
Mar 2019

What DNA Can (and Can’t) Do for Your Research

by Meryl Schumacker, CG In a toolbox, each tool serves a specific purpose. If you venture beyond a tool’s purpose—try to drive a screw into a piece of wood with only a tape measure—it’s not going to go well. Genealogy’s newest, shiniest toolbox—DNA—is no different. Today, we will parse the DNA-screw from the DNA-tape measure […]
Feb 2019

Living Family Interview Questions

Sometimes the exigencies of life preempt the most well-laid plans, and genealogical plans are no exception. I had planned out what I wanted to accomplish in 2019 for my own (non-client) family history. But then my Uncle Bob was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer, and all those plans were thrown out the window. As the […]
Feb 2019

Self-Publishing: Books, E-Books, and PDFs

by Meryl Schumacker, CG In the September, October, and November 2018 editions of NGS Monthly, Aaron Goodwin offered his suggestions for how to begin writing your family history. I have been following his series with enthusiasm, and I am thrilled to contribute this installment. I am fairly comfortable as a writer; my first career was […]
Nov 2018

How to Start Writing: the Word File

For most of us, we’ve already gathered some information and records before we decide that we want to write. Once we make that decision, though, the amount of data, paper, and electronic images in front of us can be overwhelming. Where do we start with this? The first thing to do is to decide exactly […]
Nov 2018

Family Secrets, Privacy, and Responsibility

For the July–September 2018 issue of NGS Magazine (volume 44, number 3), editor Deb Cyprych shaped an issue focused mainly on discovering family secrets and how to conduct research to find out more. Six of the magazine’s articles discuss Civil War desertion and courts-martial, divorces, the mentally ill, prostitutes, Civil War pension scams, and the 1880 […]
Oct 2018

How to Start Writing: the Overall Plan

What to do? What to do? Last month I wrote about the importance of writing for genealogists and family historians, particularly the importance of starting now rather than at some unspecified point in the future. I also wrote about some steps we can take to overcome whatever reasons we’ve given ourselves for postponing. In the […]
Oct 2018

Using Associates and Timelines to Prove Identity

When records in several places reveal persons of the same name, how can one determine whether those records were created by one individual or several?[1] It’s one of the most common problems we face as genealogists. The solution is generally found not by a single, magical record, but by thoughtful, methodical research and analysis. In […]
Sep 2018

When to Start Writing

Quick reminder: you are going to die. I forget that fact myself sometimes, thinking I have all the time in the world to do what I want to do. But I don’t. That bleak reminder has a follow-up truth for every genealogist: if we don’t record our work in some presentable format that can be […]
Sep 2018

Often Overlooked Resources: Marks and Brands

Though I was born in Georgia and raised throughout the southeast United States, I’ve lived in New York City since 1989. So I think I qualify as a bona fide city dweller at this point, thoroughly urban if only marginally urbane. My ancestors, on the other hand, are a different matter. With rare exceptions, they […]