Methodology Archive

My pa didn’t have no pa! A beginner’s delight.


My interest in my family tree started early for me. When I learned in American History class that there were two Civil War generals with my surname (Johnston), I decided to find out how I was related to them. My first stop on the trail was that evening at dinner. I asked my dad what he […]

Besse Cooper is World’s Oldest Person


I just read on Dick Eastman’s site that Walton County, Georgia’s Besse Cooper is the World’s Oldest Person at 115 years old. I was curious about Besse. Who was she? What led to her longevity, her ancestry, her lifestyle, occupation? What could I find out about her online? What an amazing life she’s led so […]

What Were the Search Parameters?


I recently ordered a birth certificate for a client’s ancestor who was believed to be born in Tennessee. After the usual wait time I received a certified record of “no record found.” Before simply accepting that the record was a lost cause, I took a few steps to determine the search parameters that the Tennessee […]

Break Down Brick Walls with City Directories


One of the most useful, but lesser known resources at Ancestry.com, is their vast collection of city directories.   City directories offer a small glimpse—a year-to-year census if you will—into your ancestor’s life.  I have used city directories to help me determine: Where an ancestor is located in a census record When an ancestor died When […]

Unfamiliar Records


When you go about researching a family line, what are the first records you look at? Probably census, birth, marriage, and death records – and rightly so, since they can so neatly fill in the blanks on your charts. However, if you look at what records are available for a particular place and time, there […]

Examine the Original Record


I have a third-great-grandmother, Mary J. Freeman, who I recently decided to focus on in order to learn about her origins, which I only knew from census records as New York. Her husband was Royal Oliver. I found four records on FamilySearch accounting for their marriage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1856, though they varied a […]

Need to Teach a Crash-Course in Genealogy?


Genealogy-enthusiasts will oftentimes be approached by budding researchers and asked to give lessons, crash-courses, or a few tips on tracing family trees. While there’s no official guideline for research, the following brief outline can be very helpful in introducing newbies to genealogy. It goes over a few of the basic record-categories (census, immigration, and vital […]

Searching a Specific Site Using Google Search


Did you know you can use Google to search a specific website? This comes in handy when you happen to find a site, such as a USGenWeb county site, that is simply a collection of web pages. It may not be very helpful for searching databases that Google doesn’t reach, such as those on Ancestry.com […]

Why Geography is Important


I learned a very valuable family history research principle years ago, and I’ve seen its application more and more as I gain experience in genealogical research. It is a powerful tool for breaking through some brick walls. Look in Purchase levitra 20 mg neighboring jurisdictions. Like ourselves, our ancestors did not neatly compartmentalize themselves into […]

The Green Leaf


Have you created or worked with an Ancestry.com Public Member Tree lately? I have recently started one myself by uploading a Gedcom. I’ve done extensive research on a few lines, and I wanted to be able to share the information with others. The great thing about these trees is that you can link Ancestry.com records […]