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Questions tagged [research-methods]

For questions about how to conduct genealogy research and best practices for genealogy research.

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15 votes
5 answers
851 views

Determining what records are available for a particular locale?

A common question that any researcher asks themselves is, "What records are available?" How can that question be easily answered for a particular locale and time period? I know that I could inspect ...
user avatar
49 votes
12 answers
4k views

When documenting location, should current or historical place names be used?

When I am documenting records, do I use the name of a city or country as it is called today or as it was in the year an ancestor was there? Related to: When documenting place names, should I write ...
Jeni's user avatar
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13 votes
6 answers
128k views

Determining ethnicity according to ancestry

My sister, cousins, and other relatives speculate that my mom's grandmother was Jewish (for various reasons). I've heard people say at times things like, for example, "I'm 50% German" or &...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 257
4 votes
1 answer
301 views

Determining what records are available about an individual?

This is a companion to Determining what records are available in a particular locale? We've all been there. We've asked, or been asked, "What do you want to know about your research subject?" only ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
9k views

Which FHL microfilms are available to view online?

My research subjects are two sisters who lived in College Point, Queens, NY. For the sister who died in 1902, I have the date of death and certificate number from the collection "New York City, ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
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33 votes
10 answers
3k views

Transitioning from person-based genealogy to record-based genealogy?

When we start genealogy we know the persons who are closest to us in time so we are comfortable using software where each person record is a unique "conclusion" person. We create a person record for ...
Tom Wetmore's user avatar
  • 3,162
7 votes
4 answers
263 views

Finding residence information for Toronto in the 1840s?

I am trying to fill out the timeline of tailor George Hindley, his wife Ann/Hannah Drake, and their family between 1841 and 1847. A rough timeline of the family can be seen by putting some of the ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
705 views

How can DNA testing aid me in my genealogy research?

My basic understanding of DNA testing is that it can tell you where your ancestors came from. How can just knowing the ethnic breakdown of my ancestors help me? What if I already know where my ...
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22 votes
10 answers
8k views

Organising digital documents for genealogy and family history? [closed]

I have been trying for over 15 years now to come up with a system of folders for my family documents. As I'm sure most of you know it can be difficult. Without making duplicates of each document ...
Steven O'Neill's user avatar
20 votes
5 answers
502 views

How can I establish (and describe) my confidence that the child and adult are the same person?

My two general questions are: At what point can one say that, yes, the adult you have identified as your ancestor is the same person as the child you think might be your ancestor, and that you have ...
Verbeia's user avatar
  • 2,998
16 votes
2 answers
892 views

Are there checklists or templates made for visiting the Family History Library in Salt Lake City?

I am on my first research trip to Salt Lake City and my first few days in the FHL has been quite a learning experience. I watched the into video and met a number of very friendly, helpful volunteers ...
Canadian Girl Scout's user avatar
16 votes
8 answers
6k views

What is the difference between evidence and information?

What is evidence? I have piles and piles of historical records, old letters, e-mails, all of which provide details about my family. Is all of the information contained in these documents evidence?...
GeneJ's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
600 views

Why do historical and genealogical scholars differ in their approach to classifying sources?

Historical scholars classify sources as "primary" or "secondary." Princeton University, "What is a primary source" Library and Archives Canada, "Toolkit: Defining Primary and Secondary Sources" ...
GeneJ's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
739 views

Managing the Multiple Maybes

My question is related to this previous question, but I think I'm looking for a rather different answer because I'm not sure a second software genealogical software package is what I'm looking for. It'...
Verbeia's user avatar
  • 2,998
7 votes
1 answer
570 views

What New York City vital records are covered by this index on FamilySearch?

When records have been extracted and indexed, but the images are not available online, how can I find out more information about how the index was made, and what fields were on the original records? ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
7 votes
1 answer
305 views

Finding people who have moved within the same geographical area?

In an answer to the question How would you handle a census record that is almost certainly the target family but which has too many discrepancies? I wrote about a family in my research area for which ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
2k views

Determining what old document with Illegible handwriting says?

When looking through handwritten records, I found a document. Some fields are legible and matched information I already knew. However, the name is written illegibly. I cannot read it for the life of ...
Luke_0's user avatar
  • 2,477
14 votes
2 answers
969 views

Correctly identifying individual who goes by multiple names?

This question is general to all inquiries where a person has differing last names in multiple records. In my particular case, I am researching my 3rd great grandfather Simon Zoller (1840-1902) and I ...
BennyMcBenBen's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Citation guides for UK sources for family history and genealogy

Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., ...
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13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Organizing Research: Should I start a binder system?

In today's day and age, are newbies still starting binder systems? I am reading Unpuzzling Your Past, 4th edition by Emily Anne Croom and it is very good. She advocates binders that organize by ...
Canadian Girl Scout's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
381 views

How can I get all the military records available through NARA (USA) for an individual veteran?

When requesting the military records for an individual veteran from the national archives, I was only sent the discharge summary. How do I know if there are any more records available for the ...
David Smith's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
243 views

What details are needed about ancestor to uncover ship they immigrated to America on?

What basic information do I need to have about my ancestor before I start looking for the ship that he/she came to America on? So that I don't waste a lot of time fruitlessly searching for a ship - ...
Jeni's user avatar
  • 2,119
11 votes
3 answers
227 views

Strategy for distinguishing between two possible baptisms, and thus people, parents, etc.?

My partner has an ancestor, Peggy Crossley, probably born around 1750, who married Henry Rawlinson in Burnley, Lancaster (source) in October 1767. I have two candidate baptismal records that seem ...
Verbeia's user avatar
  • 2,998
10 votes
4 answers
285 views

How do I deal with alternative spellings to names?

I am trying to find out information for an Arzula Hokum and am running head-first into issues with her name. Her first name sounds like Ursula and her last like some variant of Holcomb(e). How do I ...
fbrereto's user avatar
  • 4,966
10 votes
5 answers
914 views

How should I record unsuccessful searches (that may constitute negative evidence)?

How should I record the fact that I have performed a search in a certain dataset and came up empty-handed? As an example: I search for Person X in the New Hampshire Marriages index on Family ...
bstpierre's user avatar
  • 1,654
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do I perform a biographical interview?

I have a couple of elderly relatives who have not kept a journal and refuse to write down their "life story." I really would like to know their stories and who they were and who they are. They have ...
dwwork's user avatar
  • 263
6 votes
2 answers
470 views

How are the grandchildren related to the head of household in this census?

Whenever I find a census household, I try to confirm the relationships listed in the census by looking for vital records or other information. The formatting of this 1891 Census entry has been ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
6 votes
4 answers
8k views

Where to find list of census performed in Italy?

I need to know if I can find, online of offline, information about the years that census were performed in Italy. According to the thread Italian Census Records from the forum at the website Italian ...
woliveirajr's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
357 views

What to do with discarded research data?

What to do with discarded research data? Some time ago, I was looking for anything related to the birth, or the family, of a lady who married into my line back in 1834. All I could see was one ...
ACProctor's user avatar
  • 5,897
17 votes
4 answers
448 views

What details should I be recording during my research?

I have only recently become interested in my family tree. I am using PAF and am aware of GEDCOM. In addition to the details that PAF and GEDCOM support, what other information should I be recording?
Joel's user avatar
  • 173
15 votes
6 answers
1k views

How do I plan a research trip?

I intend to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. I know already that they allow Flip-Pal Scanners, so I will bring mine, plus my laptop which contains all of my genealogical ...
Canadian Girl Scout's user avatar
15 votes
6 answers
5k views

How should I deal with conflicting information?

How should I record and report information which conflicts (e.g. differing birth dates for what I believe to be the same person)?
Mat's user avatar
  • 1,169
15 votes
2 answers
12k views

Where can I find information on buildings that have been demolished?

I'd appreciate suggestions from anyone who has traced the history of houses, multi-family residences, and commercial buildings, on how to find more information about buildings which no longer exist. ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
14 votes
2 answers
284 views

Finding living relative in Victoria, Australia? [duplicate]

I only have their first names, maiden names, and know that they were born in Victoria, Australia. What is a way to locate these relatives?
Charles's user avatar
  • 685
12 votes
1 answer
600 views

Methods to organize medical genealogy information?

An aspect of genealogy that I have recently become very interested in is medical genealogy. Numerous sources give me information about my medical family history, such as: anecdotal evidence (for ...
Harry V.'s user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
633 views

Tracing ancestors in 20th century Romania?

Sanda Yordanova Genova was born in Braila in 1911. Yordan Genov Date of birth: 06/02/1907 Place of birth: Cerna Name of spouse: Maria Todorova Ilieva Nikola Todorov Bonchev Date of birth: 10/09/...
Dayana's user avatar
  • 111
9 votes
1 answer
891 views

Where might I find General Orders No. 77 dated 11 Nov 1943?

I have found a document that notes the renaming of Edinburgh Field, Trinidad to Carlsen Field (click image for full size): To get more information about the renaming (and the individual behind it) I ...
fbrereto's user avatar
  • 4,966
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can I trace my ancestry in India?

I'm a Christian from Kundamkulam, Trissur, Kerala, India. It is said (there are no written evidences) that we once were Brahmins, got converted to Christianity in the 1st century AD (there are records ...
Jesse P Francis's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
155 views

What are ways to collaborate with other Genealogists?

Many times I've wanted to trade off research with other genealogists--those not related to me. I live in Florida. Say I need a record from a repository in Tennessee and another Genealogist needs a ...
Ezri Rediker's user avatar
  • 2,232
7 votes
1 answer
198 views

Working with browsable images of probate records?

FamilySearch.org makes images available for browsing before the (computer) indexes to the collections are available. Recently some probate collections have come online, and I have made a couple of ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Finding half-sister who may still be living?

My father (1919-1984) married a woman (born in 1922) in 1943 and had a daughter on 6/18/44 whose name is unknown, prior to getting divorced and marrying my mother. They were married for only a few ...
Shimmy Weitzhandler's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
194 views

Starting pre-1837 research in England and Wales?

What are some effective research strategies for England and Wales, when you are making the transition from the era of civil registration and censuses to the period before civil registration begins? ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
5 votes
1 answer
761 views

Descendants of Sir William Blackstone, a historical puzzle

I have been researching my paternal line and have come across a stumbling block. My line can be traced pretty easily back to the beginning of the 19th century in Ohio, where we come across one ...
DaveBlackston's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
583 views

Finding records from the 'manor house'

I have an 1881 Census record for one of my research subjects where he appears as a servant at the local Manor house. Mark Herber's Ancestral Trails has a section on finding manor house records ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
5 votes
1 answer
442 views

I can't see the original images on the website -- now what?

It happens to us all -- we read a local history or a genealogy book from the late 1800s, or someone gives us a list of records they have seen, or we collect links to records from a website, and then ...
Jan Murphy's user avatar
  • 25.6k
4 votes
3 answers
332 views

Searching for UK records when only minimal information to go on?

I'm trying to search for more information on a relative, but I'm a bit stumped. I'm trying to find information prior to her marriage which was in 1912. The only information I have of any certainty ...
David Wilson's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
210 views

Does the available evidence support these assumptions?

I'm devising a complex search strategy to identify the birth and parents of my great-grandmother Mary Ann Harper. She's already discussed here: Where was Mary Ann Harper in the 1881 England census? ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
129 views

Possibility of tracing my great grandfather's wife's homeland

I have heard stories about my great grandfather's father who was a merchant and traded between India and the Islands nearby Indonesia. Once during some incident probably the World War all the travel ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
93 views

How to find additional information pertaining to little known ancestors?

I have an Irish ancestor having a surname of Lynn. Anna Lynn is my Great Grandmother and 100% Irish. Her parents came to either New York or New Jersey around 1870. At some unknown point the family ...
aallord's user avatar
  • 143