Genealogy Research

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Using Patents as a Genealogy Resource

Posted April 28, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
Drawing for a "flying machine" patented by O. and W. Wright on May 22, 1906 (patent #821,393)

Have you discovered that your ancestor was an inventor? Did you know that their patent records can provide you with some great genealogical information?  Let’s take a look at how patents can be an excellent genealogy resource! Genealogical information found in patent records include: First and last name of the inventor Each patent in the U.S. must contain the first and last name of the inventor or co-inventors and their address. You may be able… Read the full story

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Guest Post: Genetic Genealogy

Posted April 26, 2011 by Geni | No Comment
relativefindersnapshot

Today, we present a guest post about the possibilities of genetic genealogy by Andrea Badger. A while back, I briefly wrote about Relative Finder, a service offered by the DNA company 23andme. This program is able to search for segments of DNA that you share with other customers in the database. These shared segments of DNA imply a common ancestor – these people are your genetic relatives. When I first got my 23andme results over… Read the full story

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Fraternal Organization Records and Genealogy

Posted April 21, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
Symbol of the Freemasons

While researching your family history, you wonder what an acronym in your ancestors’ records or a symbol on their tombstone signifies. It’s possible that your ancestor was a member of a fraternal organization. While the practices and ceremonies of these types of organizations are secretive, you will find that many people will identify themselves in some way that they are a member of an exclusive organization. These membership organizations have been around throughout history and… Read the full story

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City Directories

Posted April 14, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
texas directory

City directories are one of the most often overlooked resources in genealogy. However, this resource is actually filled with very useful information for your genealogy research. Since city directories were published annually, they are an excellent way to track down the location of your ancestors in between census records. Here’s a quick look at how city directories can help you in your family tree research: What can I find in city directories? Your ancestors’ surname… Read the full story

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Understanding Probate Records

Posted April 7, 2011 by Amanda | One Comment
probate_docs

Probate records are an excellent source of genealogical information. Today, let’s take a closer look at probate records and how they can help enrich your genealogy research. What are probate records? Probate records are documents compiled by a court after someone has died regarding the division of their estate. Among some of the documents you may find in your ancestor’s probate records are: A death certificate Will Guardian ship petitions for minor children List of heirs… Read the full story

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Using the Chinese Exclusion Act Records in Genealogy

Posted March 31, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
chinese exclusion acts

If you are researching your Chinese heritage in the U.S. and your ancestors had immigrated to the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a great place to look is the Chinese Exclusion Act case files. In 1882, the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Acts to limit the number of Chinese immigrants coming into the country. Ten years later, the Act was modified to require all Chinese residents to obtain a certificate… Read the full story

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American Civil War Records and Genealogy

Posted March 24, 2011 by Amanda | 4 Comments
american-civil-war

If you have ancestors who fought in the American Civil War (1861-1865), finding their military records may provide you with valuable genealogical information.  Let’s take a look at how military records can help further your genealogy research as you build your family tree: Service Records Finding your ancestor’s service records can provide you with some helpful information, however, they can be a bit limited. You will likely find your ancestor’s name, their rank and unit,… Read the full story

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Finding Your Irish Ancestors

Posted March 17, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
IrishFlag1

Due to Ireland’s tumultuous history, many vital historical records have been destroyed. Although researching your Irish heritage may prove to be very difficult, take heart in that it’s not as hopeless as you might think. Here are a few general tips on how to get started in your research: Start with your living relatives Begin your research with your close family members and work your way back generation by generation. A large number of Irish… Read the full story

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The Social Security Death Index and Genealogy

Posted March 10, 2011 by Amanda | 2 Comments
Social-Security-Administration-300x300

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a wonderful resource to locate the genealogical information of your ancestors. This enormous database holds records for over 77 million people. In 1935, the United States passed the Social Security Act, which would provide federal assistance to the elderly, the unemployed and widows. The deaths recorded in the SSDI are those reported by relatives to either request survivor benefits or to stop benefits to the deceased. While you… Read the full story

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Genetic Ancestry: Sharing Your Results

Posted March 4, 2011 by Geni | 2 Comments

With the latest version of their product, 23andMe tests over one million SNPs all over your genome. That’s a million points of data about what makes you who you are from a biological standpoint. That’s pretty impressive just knowing that. When you factor in that the testing kit, the processing, the analysis, and one year of updated results come in at about $260 USD, it starts to become more compelling from a consumer standpoint. Now,… Read the full story

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Court Records in Genealogy

Posted March 3, 2011 by Amanda | 2 Comments
Arizona_Court_Records

While court records may be a little more difficult to research, they may yield some unique information you may not find anywhere else. Before you jump into these documents, you will first need to have an idea about what type of court records you are looking for and in what location. This is key to knowing which archives to search. Remember, county, state and federal cases are archived at different levels. Here are a few of… Read the full story

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Cleaning Up Documents Digitally

Posted March 3, 2011 by Geni | 2 Comments
Crop

Documentation is extremely important to genealogy. Sadly, the documents we find are often in pretty bad shape. First thing we need to do is get them scanned. Once we have a digital copy of the original document, we can start touching it up to be more legible. To get started, you’ll need some image editing software. Some of the more affordable applications are Photoshop Elements, Acorn, Pixelmator, and The GIMP. Now, open up your image… Read the full story

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Looking Through Land Records

Posted February 24, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
landpatentrecord

The purchase and sale of land is one of the most well documented sources you may find in your genealogy research. In the U.S., the sale of public land can be traced back to the beginnings of westward expansion and the passage of the Homestead Act. In many cases, you can even trace the ownership of land back to when America was first colonized and land grants were distributed to early settlers. After the American Revolutionary War, the… Read the full story

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Finding Church Records

Posted February 17, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment
church

Although church records may not have been kept with genealogy in mind, these records can provide genealogists with vital information to help fill the gaps in their research. Even if your ancestor was not a regular attendant, you may find detailed information on births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. How do you go about obtaining these records? If you’re lucky enough to have access to your family Bible, you may be able to gather enough… Read the full story

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Genetic Ancestry: Viewing Your Results

Posted February 17, 2011 by Geni | 2 Comments
23 relative finder

So, now that you’ve ordered your kit, taken your test, and received your results, how do you put them to good use in your genealogy research? Well, it depends on which company you decided to do your testing through. I have personal experience with 23andMe, so that is the example I’ll use today. Before you do anything else, go to the mechanism that matches people with similar DNA. 23andMe calls this feature “Relative Finder.” This… Read the full story

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Genetic Ancestry: Intro to Personal DNA Tests

Posted February 16, 2011 by Geni | One Comment
23andMe

Our DNA holds the answers to a lot of questions. Ancestry is one of them. When we have our genome analyzed, we can compare our data to the community aggregate as well as known-relations. DNA testing provides us the ability to see who we’re related to, and how closely. Family Tree DNA and 23andMe are two of the most well-known direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies. They both offer Y-DNA, Mitochondrial DNA, and Autosomal DNA tests. Family… Read the full story

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Making a Tombstone Rubbing

Posted February 10, 2011 by Amanda | One Comment

Making tombstone rubbings is an easy and fun activity to preserve the headstones of your ancestors. Before embarking on your adventure to the cemetery, make sure to first get permission from the proper authorities. Some cemeteries have banned this practice in order to preserve fragile headstones and prevent further damage. Once you have permission, it’s very important that you check the structural integrity of the tombstone. Do not attempt a rubbing on a stone that… Read the full story

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Researching African American Genealogy

Posted February 3, 2011 by Amanda | One Comment
freedmans bureau school

February is Black History Month in the U.S., where we celebrate and remember the past and present achievements of African-Americans. If you are researching your African-American heritage, finding documentation about your ancestors before 1870 can be a challenge. Here are a few resources you may find helpful in your research: U.S. Census Records Census records from 1850 and 1860 included special slave schedules, which provide the name of the slave owner and the number of… Read the full story

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A Look at DNA in Genealogy

Posted January 27, 2011 by Amanda | 6 Comments
dna

Although DNA testing has been around for a while, only recently have genealogists started using DNA to help trace the origins of their ancestors. While DNA testing cannot give you specific information (names, dates etc.), when used in conjunction with your other research, genetic testing can help us prove/disprove ancestral lines while also leading us in possible new directions to pursue. Let’s take a quick look at how DNA testing can help you trace your ancestry…. Read the full story

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Clues in Historic Maps

Posted January 20, 2011 by Geni | One Comment
Kopie (3) von OrteliusWorldMap1570

Historic maps can offer you a wide variety of clues and new leads to investigate. A great genealogical tool, maps help us to locate our ancestors and follow their path as they moved. Maps let you visualize where your ancestors lived, went to school, traveled, worked and buried. In your research, keep in mind that the names of locations and boundaries change quite often over time. There are several resources you may use to help… Read the full story

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Searching Through Old Newspapers

Posted January 13, 2011 by Geni | 2 Comments
old-newspaper

You may be thinking that your ancestor wasn’t famous or “important” enough to get their name mentioned in the press. However, you might be surprised at what you can find about your ancestor in print. Let’s take a closer look at where you can find information in old newspapers to further your genealogical research. Birth/Death Notifications, Marriage Announcements These types of announcements were very common to print and it’s very likely you may find your… Read the full story

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Discovering Your Female Ancestors

Posted January 6, 2011 by Geni | No Comment
diaries_two_open_1020

If you are trying to trace your female ancestors, chances are you’ve hit some road blocks and difficulties locating them in documented records. Before the 20th century, law and tradition focused record keeping primarily on the male head of the household. Unfortunately for us, this means women are often missing from official records, making their genealogy all the more difficult to trace. Here are a few other places you can search for your female ancestors:… Read the full story

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Deciphering Old Handwriting

Posted December 30, 2010 by Geni | No Comment
old handwriting

Reading old documents can be a great challenge for genealogists. Overtime, language conventions and handwriting styles have significantly changed. Time and patience are required when trying to understand your ancestor’s handwriting. Here are some quick tips on how to make deciphering old handwriting a little bit easier: First read the document in its entirety and pick out any familiar words or phrases. Remember, be patient. You should read the document several times to get a… Read the full story

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Photographing Gravestones

Posted December 23, 2010 by Amanda | 2 Comments

Last week, we gave tips on visiting cemeteries. We reminded you to take lots of pictures during your visit. This week we offer tips on how to take great gravestone pictures. While some genealogists prefer creating tombstone rubbings, cameras are an excellent non-destructive tool for recording a gravestone. Rubbings may cause damage to the gravestone, especially to older, more fragile markers. A camera gives you the opportunity to take multiple pictures from many different angles… Read the full story

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Visiting Cemeteries

Posted December 16, 2010 by Amanda | One Comment
Cemetery

Cemeteries are not only a rich source of genealogical information, but they can also offer us an intimate connection with our ancestors. Tombstones often provide dates, birth places, maiden names, names of spouses and parents. They may also yield information regarding military service and religious affiliation. Keep in mind that nearby graves may lead to the discovery of other relatives. Often small unmarked stones are the only source for an ancestor who died as an… Read the full story

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Holidays with Your Family

Posted December 9, 2010 by Geni | No Comment
ornament1

With Christmas fast approaching, families near and far are preparing to gather together to participate in holiday festivities. It is the perfect time for you to gather genealogical information and bring your family closer together. Interview your family A few weeks ago, we offered tips on interviewing your relatives. The holidays are the perfect time to put these tips into action. You may want to make sure you have your tape recorder on hand to capture… Read the full story

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Make Your Own Recipe Book

Posted November 18, 2010 by Geni | Comments Off

Cuisine is a very notable and important part of the culture of families, eras, cultures and locales.  Whether your comfort food is Grandma’s lasagna, your cousin’s curry or a breakfast at the restaurant t hat your great grandfather founded during the Great Depression, family meals are ingrained in us.  As many different holidays are approaching and many families will be congregating, now is a great time to start planning a recipe book that you can… Read the full story

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Convert Audio Recordings to MP3

Posted November 11, 2010 by Geni | No Comment
interviewcassette

Many genealogists use interviews as a means of research, and until recent years it was both difficult and costly to create audio recordings of an interview in digital format.  Now that cassette tapes and older formats are becoming more and more rare, it is as important as ever to begin transferring the audio from previous generations to formats that can continue to live in a world of iPods and mobile devices.  This is especially important… Read the full story

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Interviewing Relatives

Posted November 4, 2010 by Geni | No Comment

One of the most overlooked genealogy research methods is interviewing your extended family. Whether your goal is to simply create your own private tree, or to find a way to connect to the Big Tree, you shouldn’t ignore the intimate resources available to you. Many make the mistake of waiting too long to connect with distant relatives; they can’t share their knowledge with you after they pass away!  Plan short trips to meet with extended… Read the full story

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GenTips: Finding Those Elusive Female Ancestors

Posted March 16, 2009 by Geni | No Comment

In this post, Geni guest blogger and avid genealogist Lisa Alzo celebrates Women’s History month by helping you find your elusive female ancestors. Do you have an elusive female ancestor that you just can’t seem to find? She may be the one listed as Mary (blank) in your pedigree chart because you are unable to identify her maiden name; or the first wife of your great-grandfather who seemed to just “disappear” after the 1880 census,… Read the full story

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GenTips: Research Resolutions

Posted January 27, 2009 by Geni | No Comment

In this post, Geni guest blogger and avid genealogist Lisa Alzo helps you with your research resolutions for the new year.The start of every New Year is a time for reflection about our personal and professional accomplishments during the previous 12 months. It's also the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate and identify areas for improvement. You can use the month of January to set some family history research resolutions. Here are five possibilities: Get Some Goals… Read the full story

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Using Outside Sources to Help with Your Family Tree

Posted November 11, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

Because many Geni users are just getting started with their family history research, occasionally we like to share helpful resources thay may assist you in your research.Today’s guest blogger Lee Everton presents Everton’s Genealogical Helper. Make sure you check out the special offer at the end for Geni users: As you enter new family members on your family tree, you will arrive at a point where it becomes more difficult to add branches to your… Read the full story

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GenTips: The Next Best Thing to Being There – Virtual Family Reunions

Posted October 28, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

In this post, Geni guest blogger and avid genealogist Lisa Alzo helps you plan a "virtual family reunion". Family reunions have traditionally provided a way to build and strengthen family ties.  Getting together with favorite cousins, long-lost relatives, or newly discovered kin provides a fabulous opportunity to reminisce about favorite family memories or share newly discovered details about your family tree.  But if you’re finding that tough economic times combined with conflicting schedules prevents you… Read the full story

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GenTips: Back to Basics: After the Interview

Posted October 8, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

In this post, Geni guest blogger and avid genealogist Lisa Alzo explains the steps you should take after you interview family members. If you missed Lisa’s first two posts in this series, Interview Your Relatives and Oral History Obstacles, you may want to read those first.                                                                        You’ve just returned from a… Read the full story

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GenTips: Back to Basics: Oral History Obstacles

Posted September 18, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

In this post, Geni guest blogger and avid genealogist Lisa Alzo explains some oral history obstacles she faced. She goes on to offer some solutions and hints as to how she overcame those obstacles and how you can too. If you missed Lisa’s first post in this series, Interview Your Relatives, you may want to read that one first. Finding relatives who can fill in the blanks in your family’s story takes you beyond just… Read the full story

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GenTips: Back to Basics: Interview Your Relatives

Posted August 18, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

In this post, Geni guest blogger and avid genealogist Lisa Alzo explains the importance and overall process of interviewing your relatives. Genealogy is more than just names and dates. Family stories, although sometimes filled with errors, may still contain vital clues for your research.  If you have living relatives, make it a priority to sit down with them to record their oral history.  Ask them if they have any photographs or documents, and be sure… Read the full story

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GenTips: Back to Basics: Build Your Family Tree

Posted August 4, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

Are you perplexed about how to begin piecing together your own family history?  Have you been researching for years but now have hit that proverbial brick wall in your research?  Read this post from guest blogger Lisa Alzo, an avid genealogists and author. This is the first post in a new series of posts written to give both the newbie and the more experienced researcher suggestions, tips, and techniques for finding their ancestors. At the… Read the full story

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Geni brings Genealogy to Schools

Posted February 27, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

As Geni continues to add additional features, teachers are discovering that Geni is a great tool for students to learn more about themselves and their family through a fun and interactive medium. Kelly Tenkely, a K-5 Computer Teacher at Cherry Hills Christian School, describes her experience and those of her students while using Geni. Genealogy can be a dry subject for students, the old paper and pencil method of genealogy projects didn’t engage my students… Read the full story

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Second Cousin Once Removed

Posted February 20, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

There is a helpful post today over at Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter on cousin terminology complete with a helpful Cousins Table . If you have ever been confused by relationship descriptions such as "third cousin, four times removed", you may want to read What Is "Second Cousin Once Removed?".

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Kids’ Genealogy Homework: Interviewing Grandparents

Posted January 11, 2008 by Geni | No Comment

In our continuing series of Guest Bloggers who are introducing subjects of interest to the Genealogy Community, we welcome Diane Haddad, Managing Editor of Family Tree Magazine who gives tips for interviewing Grandparents. When I was 8 years old, my teacher sent my class home with a list of questions and instructions to ask an older relative about his or her life. I called my grandma, told her “you’re the oldest person I know,” and… Read the full story

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Heritage Travel – In Search of Ancestral Roots

Posted November 20, 2007 by Geni | No Comment

In our continuing series of Guest Bloggers who are introducing subjects of interest to the Genealogy Community, we welcome Kathy Wurth of Family Tree Tours who gives tips for planning a Heritage Travel trip. Almost every U.S. citizen either originally came from somewhere else or their forefathers did, and for those of European origin, many countries across the Atlantic make a special effort to welcome Americans in search of their ancestral roots. For those of… Read the full story

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New Features – Directory of Family Names on Geni

Posted November 10, 2007 by Geni | No Comment

We recently announced that our users have created 10 Million profiles on Geni. With our growing index of names we continue to work hard at providing you the tools you need to find and connect with your family. Many of you already use our public search feature to find family members in other trees and genealogists researching a shared surname. To increase the value of this feature, we will be indexing these same public search… Read the full story

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DNA – The Ultimate Link

Posted October 8, 2007 by Geni | No Comment

Introducing Our Guest Blogger, Bennett Greenspan, President of Family Tree DNA Genealogy is the ultimate ‘family social network’ because it unites and reunites long lost and far flung family members. During the past 4 centuries our ancestors have spread out from (basically) European roots and traveled to all corners of the world… in most cases carrying only the clothes on their backs and their name with them…. and that’s the point… they carried their names… Read the full story

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