Jun 2015

Civil War Union Pension Files: Contents and Access

Many veterans who served for the Union during the Civil War received federal pensions.[1] These pensions provided support to those who qualified based on disability, service, and old age. In many cases, upon the death of a soldier, his widow or other dependents were able to collect a pension. The process of applying for a […]
May 2015

What Do Genealogists Gain From Reading NGSQ?

We read National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) case studies, even though these articles cover families, places, and ethnicities not found in our own ancestral lines. Why spend time reading about someone else’s ancestors when we have so many of our own to research? We need to develop problem-solving skills. One way to do this is […]
May 2015

The Big Picture and the Small Details

As genealogists, we are encouraged to uncover the small details about our ancestors’ lives, as well as look at the bigger picture to learn more about who they were associated with throughout their lifetimes. Why do we examine our research subjects up close with a magnifying glass, but also pull back to get a bird’s-eye-view […]
Apr 2015

Finding and Using Alien Records

Researching immigrant ancestors can be challenging. Family historians often search for naturalization records to learn more about immigrants, but what if they were never naturalized? Alien records, including Alien Registration Forms (AR-2s) and Alien Files (A-Files), can provide a wealth of information, and are sometimes the only records that identify the origins of twentieth-century immigrants.
Apr 2015

The Importance of Genealogical Analysis and Correlation

As genealogists, we connect various pieces of information to draw conclusions—but it isn’t just the information that makes our case. Analysis and correlation are essential parts of the process. Genealogical analysis is when we examine our sources and information piece by piece to understand their context and nature, and to evaluate credibility. Correlation is when […]
Mar 2015

The Proof Is In the Writing

As genealogists, we focus heavily on proof—proof of relationships, identity, and circumstances. To successfully establish proof, we must meet the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), which requires us to present our evidence in writing. Discussions of proof generally take three forms—proof statements, proof summaries, and proof arguments. They vary in length, depending on the complexity of the […]
Mar 2015

The Great Mix-Up: Sources, Information, Evidence, and Proof

Sources. Information. Evidence. Proof. For many genealogists, these four terms can be baffling. They are often transposed, merged, miscommunicated, or all of the above. Let’s dissect all four and look at them in practice with the case study “Jethro Potter’s Secret: Confusion to Conclusion in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan,” written by Harold Henderson, CG(SM) […]
Feb 2015

Eight Tips for Deconstructing an NGSQ Case Study

Find the research question. Each NGSQ case study begins with a distinct research question. The question may be one of identity, relationship, or situation. The title of the case study often sheds light on what question is being asked. For example, the September 2014 issue of NGSQ includes an article by Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, […]
Feb 2015

What Is an NGSQ Case Study?

Each issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) includes several case studies—the kinds of articles that address specific research questions. Case studies differ significantly from the lineages, pedigrees, and genealogies that frequently appear in well-respected genealogical journals. Some readers of these publications may miss the distinction between different genres of genealogical articles, so let’s learn more about […]