Uncategorized Archive

26 Apr 2017

Are You Researching Through a Peephole?

We’ve probably all used peepholes to peek out and see who is knocking at the door. The tiny opening gives a glimpse, but it isn’t large enough to provide the full picture. If the visitor is too close,
23 Mar 2017

Writing Family Narratives

Exceptionally well-written family narratives inspire others to try to bring their own ancestors to life in the same way. It sometimes seems, however, that talented writers are born with a gift—that either a person has or doesn’t
23 Mar 2017

Second Looks, Second Chances

People often say to themselves, “If I only knew then what I know now.”  They look wistfully at past experiences thinking that if they had another chance they might do things differently. In most cases, people can’t
18 Feb 2017

Correlation and Validation

Eureka! You’ve found the record you’ve been looking for. It’s right where you expected it to be. The names, dates, places, and situations are consistent with the people you’re researching. You’re tempted to celebrate, thinking you have
18 Feb 2017

Thinking About How Couples Met

In 1898, the sensationalist New York American reported the story of an unusual engagement. A Polish man from Pennsylvania had approached a New York City saloonkeeper and offered to pay him $20 for his help in finding
20 Jan 2017

Resolutions, Goals, and Objectives

It’s January—the first month of a new year. This is the time when people tend to think about clean slates and a fresh starts. They make resolutions and set objectives. If you’re a member of the National
20 Jan 2017

Creativity in Genealogical Research

Genealogists’ work is grounded in sources—in records, artifacts, images, traditions, and other items that provide information used as evidence. But sources and the information they provide are only part of any given solution to a problem. Skilled,
18 Dec 2016

Family Tradition as a Source

Most genealogists probably encounter family traditions. They’re the stories—often with uncertain origins—that have been passed down from one generation to the next. The tales may involve subjects such as ethnicity, places of origin, military exploits, occupations, accomplishments,
18 Dec 2016

Learning from NGS Family History Writing Competition Winners

Each year the National Genealogical Society holds a Family History Writing competition. The winning entry is submitted to the NGS Quarterly editors for possible publication. When accepted, NGS Quarterly readers benefit, for the contest winners’ work demonstrates
15 Nov 2016

Breaking Out of Comfort Zones

My mother knew someone who was so afraid of making a left turn in her car that she simply refused to do it. Rather than take the most direct route, she would make only right turns and