Oct 2015

Using Autosomal DNA To Help Establish Proof

DNA testing has become increasingly popular in the genealogical community over the past few years, and test results are now often used to help establish proof of relationships. In his case study, “Too Few Sources to Solve a Family Mystery? Some Greenfields in Central and Western New York,” which appeared in the June 2015 issue of […]
Sep 2015

Documentation: The Backbone of Genealogical Research

Many beginner genealogists get caught up in chasing their ancestors back in time, and fail to record where they found the information they discovered. Eventually, they realize they should have been doing this all along—perhaps after sifting through papers in search of the source of a specific piece of information. Documentation and source citations are […]
Sep 2015

Don’t Miss the NGSQ Editors’ Corner

Some readers of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) may be so focused on getting into the newest case studies that they skip over an important piece of NGSQ—the Editors’ Corner. Written each issue by NGSQ co-editors Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG, and Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, the Editors’ Corner offers […]
Jul 2015

Civil War Pension Files: Understanding Pension Laws

From the beginning of the Civil War through the twentieth century, Congress passed many laws that impacted pensions for Civil War Union veterans and their dependents. (For more information about pension files and how to access them, see last month’s NGS Monthly article, “Civil War Union Pension Files: Contents and Access“). Pension laws concerned everything […]
Jul 2015

Techniques for Researching Common-Name Ancestors

We often struggle with solving problems and making connections as we research our ancestors with common surnames—for example, the Johnsons, Smiths, and Joneses in our family trees. Our struggles multiply when these men and women also have common forenames. The primary challenge we face when researching these individuals is telling them apart from others with […]
Jun 2015

DNA As a Genealogical Source

Over the past five years, an increasing number of National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) articles have incorporated a new genealogical source: DNA test results. While not necessary to solve every genealogical problem, there are instances when DNA test results supply information that couldn’t be uncovered through traditional research, confirm a conclusion suggested or reached by a paper trail, […]
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.