Nov 2017

Evaluating Court Testimonies as Genealogical Evidence

The Genealogical Proof Standard includes “(a) a reasonably exhaustive search in reliable sources for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question[.]”[1] Court records are generally considered “reliable sources,” but what of the testimonies recorded in court cases, particularly when they conflict? Is it possible to […]
Oct 2017

Hidden Truths

People who lived in the past had secrets. Just as those living today may hide parts of their lives and conceal facts about their families, so may have people who lived centuries ago. Genealogists know that first-hand information is more likely to be accurate, but just because information is first-hand doesn’t mean that it is […]
Oct 2017

Tracking and Reporting Our Own Research

Life has a way of interrupting plans. While we are deep into work, focused on solving a genealogical mystery, a bump in the road could push us in another direction. We set our research aside, intending to restart as soon as we’re able. But when we come back to work, the details that were fresh […]
Sep 2017

Reducing Risk by Using Original Sources

In a mere three pages in the September 2016 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, author Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, illustrates the risks genealogists run when they do not pursue original sources.[1] Sources fall into one of three categories: An original source is described by Elizabeth Shown Mills as “material in its first […]
Sep 2017

Genealogists and Books

On National Read a Book Day, celebrated 6 September 2017, the public was encouraged to spend the day reading. Many family historians need no encouragement to do that; books are an important part of every day. Genealogists use books for research and they read them to learn about records, techniques, history, society, laws, and much […]
Aug 2017

Modern Eyes, Old Records

We’ve all heard the expression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Viewers bring their individual interpretations and ideas to what they see. The phenomenon extends into everything that people look at, including historical documents used in genealogical research. Genealogists looking at sources created decades or centuries ago bring a modern-day point of […]
Aug 2017

The Sibling Connection

When faced with a challenging research problem, expanding the search to records of the subject’s family, friends, and associates frequently will bring a solution. One of the most effective paths is through a person’s siblings. If a person’s own records fail to name parents, a sibling’s records could directly state their names or offer clues […]
Jul 2017

Making the Most of an Index

An index is an index—or is it? Indexes can range from printed lists of alphabetized names to computer databases that allow users to pick and choose from several searchable fields. In her 2006 National Genealogical Society Quarterly article, “Job1 Davidson, Cooper in Baltimore, Maryland, and His Long Lost Descendants in Ohio and Indiana: Using Occupation and […]
Jul 2017

What? Write About Genealogy?

Yes! All genealogists can and should write about their work. Writing is part of everyday life. All of us make lists of things to remember and to do. Some keep journals about experiences and emotions. We communicate with others in emails, letters, cards, tweets, and posts on social media, and we complete forms and surveys. […]
Jun 2017

Stepping Toward a Solution

Beginners struggle with the task of planning and conducting efficient research, and the ready availability of online records and databases can actually add to the confusion. Would-be genealogists have easy access to information that may or may not relate to their own families. Many newcomers to genealogy spend hours at the computer gathering whatever scraps […]