RESEARCH GUIDES OFFER VALUABLE INFORMATION FROM THE EXPERTS
January 6, 2013
Over the holidays is a great time to visit with family and friends. Using this time to network with the older generations is most important. Recording interview conversations, taking pictures, and just getting to know those who knew many departed relatives and their stories is a treasure trove. Retrieving clues to fill in missing puzzle pieces demands preparation.
Know who is visiting in your area and determine what information you need from whom throughout the year. Make a list of people to interview, information to be gained from them through stories or family lore. With the information collected during this family time, make a list of what topics, data bases or records to research to document the family stories.
To help me grasp the forthcoming research I had asked for more of the four-page laminated sheets on subjects by the professionals. I’ve mentioned these in previous columns just as I have told you that I no longer am physically able to carry weighty resources because of a back problem. The inexpensive laminated “Genealogy at a glance” series rides to my rescue with four pages of valuable information covering a myriad of subjects written by family historians who are experts in their field. I might be able to find a discussion on the Internet about the subject, but honestly sometimes I like to sit down, hold the reading material in my hand and study it. I also put these on my wish list.
While interviewing one relative, he mentioned a time period which brought to mind the census and what questions it asked in the decade before and after. The online search did not show the female in my initial search. I used Kory L. Meyerink’s U. S. Federal Census Records to jog my memory of alternate census search strategies. One of the 15 suggested was to consider boundary changes and suggested Thorndale and Dollarhide’s reference book, Map Guide to U. S. Census. I did not find the questionable Virginia county was not formed until after the census was taken. The lady was there all along, living in the same place but in the mother county. She was not married when the census was taken because the marriage took place after January 1 when the enumeration began.
I next used Carol McGinnis’s Virginia Genealogy Research guide. The guide referred me to the Library of Virginia’s free databases, images and guides, warning that many of Virginia’s records are kept at the county level as well as the city level. McGinnis even gives the library’s website address. It also has the website for searching the free index to wills and administrations, www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/opac/willsabout.htm.
Next, I began searching my husband’s new line that immigrated to the United States from England after 1850. We had thought the family had a daughter who married in England before coming here, but we never found her. Having her married name may help identify her husband and children in England and those who came here. Thanks to the help of Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s Immigration Research, and Paul Milner’s English Genealogy Research guides, finding this elusive family was only somewhat difficult.
Each At a glance research guide has contents, quick facts, background information, basic record sources, supplementary sources, major repositories and online resources. Professionals write them, so the information in the four laminated pages can be thoroughly trusted to be factual. I keep the guides with my personal Study Guide, mentioned in a previous column, in a clear plastic magazine holder. Each is alphabetically organized and entered into my Personal Library database. Each guide is labeled on the spine of the magazine holder for easy access.
CHICAGO GENEALOGIST ONLINE: The Newberry Library in Chicago recently announced the newly created digital collection of the Chicago Genealogist containing images of the quarterly journal, volumes 1-39. Searching is by keyword, surname, church, school and the neighborhood. The journal has been in publication since 1969. You may search the digitized images of the journal, 1969-2007, free of charge. To read more about the database or search online, go to www.newberry.org/chicago-genealogist-now-line.
BACK UP YOUR DATA: It is the first of the month and time to back up your data.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.