Genealogy Research Tips and Tricks

Digitizing Family Photos and Records: What’s the Best Format to Use?

By Tony Bandy From official documents and family snapshots to handwritten letters and more – incorporating scanned images and documents into your genealogy research can be rewarding on many levels. However, the process of digitizing them can often be difficult. You may find yourself wondering: what format(s) should I use/not use to store old family …

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Were Your Ancestors American Pioneers? Here’s How to Track Them Down Online

From Conestoga wagons on long, dusty trails to pioneers struggling for success on a homestead in Oregon – America’s westward expansion in the latter part of the 1800’s has long held promise for genealogists. There’s a lot to consider when investigating your ancestor’s movement into the American West, primarily because no singular resource or database has it all. In fact, the sheer number of options in this category can make for some very trying research, especially if you are new to the topic.

The “Secret” Codes on Death Certificates That Can Tell You How Your Ancestors Died

Finding death certificates for our ancestors is a critically important part of family history research. These important records contain information about when and where our ancestor lived and died and often include names of a spouse, parents, witnesses and, of course, a cause of death.

But the causes of death on death certificates are notoriously hard to read. Certainly, the more we research the better we get at deciphering the meaning of these sloppily written medical texts, but, very often, we are still left scratching our heads. Luckily there is a “secret” code on many of these documents that can help you make sense of this information and more fully understand how your ancestor passed.

Have You Searched These Genealogy Photo Collections for Your Ancestors?

Are you lucky enough to have a collection of old photographs of your ancestors? A surprisingly small number of family historians are able to answer “yes” to this question — at least as it concerns ancestors who are more than a couple of generations removed. While most of us are certainly going to gain access to at least some photos held by family members during the course of our research, we are often limited to images of our most direct relations. But there are photos out there….just waiting to be found.

The Important National Death Registers That Many Family Historians Miss

Are you in search of a date or place of death for a certain member of your family tree, but keep coming up empty-handed? If the individual passed away in the mid to late 1800s, U.S. Mortality Schedules – conducted in connection with the federal census – may be the key to finding the missing piece of your genealogy puzzle.

How I Finally Broke Down a 10-Year-Old Brick Wall in 10 Minutes

I’ve been doing family history research for 20 years and, like everyone, I’ve encountered a few brick walls. Although I have been successful in breaking most of those down using solid research techniques, one or two remain. One in particular has haunted me for more than a decade – the parents of one of my 3rd great grandparents. Unable to locate this information I have had to leave this branch of my tree undeveloped.

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