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 the Emancipation Proclamation took effect?” Yes; yes, it was. Texas had not had a significant enough Union presence […]
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 focused question based on known information.[1] Doing so significantly increases the chances you’ll achieve your research goal as […]
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 your plan with a focused question based on known information.[1] The first real step for any research project, […]
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 […]