Author Archive

10 Sep 2019

Non-Population Census Schedules

Every genealogist works with federal census population schedules. Our work with them is so common that we generally don’t even bother to specify that they’re population schedules. They’re just “the census.” Far fewer of us make full
10 Sep 2019

Cause of Death Decoder

Just as we in the field of genealogy have a friend in Steve Morse and the “One-Step” pages that facilitate effective searches of passenger lists, censuses, vital records, and more, so the scientific, technical, and medical research
21 Aug 2019

Determining and Expressing Dates

The topic of dates and how to estimate or calculate them has been addressed in NGS Monthly before. In Laura Murphy DeGrazia’s “Calculating Dates and Date Ranges,”[1] qualifying terms like “about” and “calculated” are referred to, but the
20 Aug 2019

Chronologizing As a Research Tool

When I started in genealogy, I thought I was being organized and mindful if I saved a record I discovered to the appropriate folder with an appropriately descriptive file name. But I didn’t abstract those records as
18 Jul 2019

Some Resources (and a New Roadblock) in African American Research

On 19 June 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his regiment landed at Galveston, Texas, to announce that the war had ended and the previously enslaved were free. “Wait,” you might think. “Wasn’t that 2½ years after
17 Jul 2019

In Defense of the Curious Meander

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) —Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” 51 In May’s issue, I wrote about the importance of starting your research plan with a
31 May 2019

What’s Your Problem?

In the first “Editors’ Corner” for their first issue as editors of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Nancy Peters and Allen Peterson give some fundamental research advice to their readers: Start with a plan. More pointedly, start
31 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
31 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
21 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