Suggestions for Genealogy Research–

Suggestions for Genealogy Research Success:

Profile your ancestors–even though the word Profile has taken on a negative meaning in today’s media, a genealogy ancestral profile outlines occupation, religious background, ethnic origins, family naming patterns, dates and routes of migration, education. With these items in mind, specific jurisdictions, most likely to keep genealogy records on your ancestors, can be searched for details.
For example–George Sanderson was a silk weaver in Derbyshire England. The mill in which he was working closed down three years after his marriage. The parish churchbooks do not tell where he went for employment. Instead of searching surrounding parishes in ever-widening circles to find him, you can draw a straight line to the nearest silk mill where he could obtain work and discover him there.

Track down family records–your family members need not be prominent to deposit their genealogy papers in local university libraries, historical societies, and even public libraries. These private genealogy research collections often contain the original family papers.
For example–The Library of Virginia in Richmond (formerly the Virginia State Library) holds 176 separate documents pertaining to Zachariah Johnston of Augusta and Rockbridge counties Virginia. With an additional 626 documents and 7 volumes of genealogy records preserved in Duke University Library, Durham NC. Finding these original records in a family collection can eliminate the need for extensive searches in unindexed sources. The Johnston genealogy papers include wills, deeds, guardianship appointments, church certificates and transfers, family Bible pages, correspondence with family members who migrated West, newspaper clippings, tax receipts, and military service records and medals. And the plum of them all–the original account book and diary begun in 1709 as the family prepared to leave Ireland for America recording who paid for what! These are the original records and sources! Getting to the collection is the key.

Take time to search for “lost” genealogy records–Some genealogy records were actually preserved by the Civil War: the Federal Government offered individual reimbursements, called reparations, to Southerners who claimed loyalty to the Union. This meant they would be paid if did not serve in enemy militia units, or pay taxes to enemy governments, or sit on enemy juries or courts martial. Many Southerners claimed loyalty. So the Government officials confiscated local tax and court documents for evidence to check their claims out. These research materials are now preserved in Federal archives where they can searched, instead of being lost in burned courthouses.

Contact living family members for data–You and your relatives store a wealth of genealogy data about your family in memory. While something you remember being told may seem commonplace you can use these clues to save hours of research time hunting.
For example–Opal Rippeto did not have the family Bible; she did still live on the family land in Missouri. She knew that her ancestor William Rippeto did come from Kentucky into Missouri long before she was born. This verified what the records seemed to tell us: two distinct William Rippetos came to Kentucky from Virginia. One died in Kentucky and one went on to Missouri, where he later died.

Where two or more family lines share surnames, or localities, or specific categories of sources, lump your research together and search them together. Make an alphabetical list of what you are looking for and check them off as you search the records. Especially, search for husband and wife to together—they met up somewhere and their families may have known each other a full generation or two before they came together. That way you won’t miss the connection.

Genealogy Research Requires Skill and Experience. If you are working on hard-to-find ancestors, using field researchers to search unfamiliar or complicated records may not be practical [Look, I have trained some really good genealogists. And I utilize their services where I can. Reading property documents—deeds, bounty land grants, tax rolls, original surveys, equity court cases, and other legal documents–is not a chore that I assign to others.]  Understanding the property process with its accompanying legal background, is more difficult than reading the census–it requires experience as well as study–and may need a visit on the ground to the land itself.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS The system of genealogy research I use guarantees a high rate of accuracy and thus, success. It is not, however, a speedy approach. Don’t cheat yourself of the answers the records hold for your ancestors. Allow time for your ancestors to be found. And remember, if you can’t find them, you can entrust your ancestors and their research to me with confidence–knowing that month-after-month, year-after-year, I continue to find ancestors that others have given up on.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.