Jun 2016

Indirect Evidence to Identify an Ancestral Homeland

Identifying an immigrant ancestor’s origins is one of the most common quests among family historians. A variety of sources created during and after an immigrant ancestor’s lifetime often provide direct evidence of his or her birth location. However, sometimes these sources fall short of providing the information we seek. In such instances, indirect evidence can […]
Jun 2016

Sources and Strategies for Discovering Immigrant Origins

To research the ancestral line of an immigrant, a reliable connection must be made between that person and his or her place of origin. Tracing immigrant ancestors involves examining a wide variety of sources, and sometimes requires implementing strategies that can provide clues to possible places of origin.
May 2016

A Twentieth-Century Genealogical Resource: FBI Records

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) serves as the nation’s federal law enforcement agency, and as an intelligence, security, and investigative organization. Established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation, the agency was known as the United States Bureau of Investigation and the Division of Investigation before it became known as the Federal Bureau of […]
May 2016

Assessing Reliability of Information

Assessing the reliability of information is a crucial and necessary step toward drawing genealogical conclusions. Researchers should never accept a piece of information as fact without first evaluating and analyzing it. This holds true for instances in which no known conflicting information exists, as well as when multiple pieces of information contradict each other. Researchers […]
Apr 2016

Methodology for Elusive Female Ancestors

Tracing female ancestors can be one of the most difficult challenges for genealogists. Historically, women had fewer legal rights than the men in their lives. As a result, they were often hidden behind the identities of those men, and did not leave much of a paper trail behind. Successful research into elusive female ancestors often […]
Apr 2016

Soldiers’ Home Records: A Valuable Military Resource

Genealogists with military ancestors are faced with the tasks of researching and understanding a variety of complicated records—pension files, regimental histories, service records, payment ledgers, war diaries, and other sources. Soldiers’ home records are another valuable military resource that can provide details about a veteran’s family, service, illnesses, injuries, and life after the war.
Mar 2016

Using Indirect Evidence To Solve Genealogical Problems

When we are faced with challenging research problems, the ability to work with indirect evidence can be a valuable problem-solving skill. Indirect evidence is information that we analyze in the context of our research question and interpret as being relevant, even though it doesn’t directly provide us with an answer. A lack of direct evidence […]
Mar 2016

Records of the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps

In response to the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the New Deal, a series of domestic programs focused on relief for the poor and unemployed, economic recovery, and reformation of the nation’s financial system. Two of these programs—the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)—employed millions of men and women and […]
Feb 2016

A Primer on United States Naturalization Records

Naturalization records can be difficult for genealogists to navigate. Researchers are often left wondering if they’ve searched for the right records in the right places, given the various types of naturalization records and courts that generated them. Genealogists who can grasp the basics of the naturalization process and the records it created will become better […]
Feb 2016

Resolving A Question of Identity in NGSQ

Successful research involves identifying a specific person of interest and developing a focused research question about that person. Genealogical research questions are usually centered on problems of identity, relationship, or circumstance. Most of the case studies published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) resolve questions of relationship—for example, identifying the parents of a specific […]