January 4, 2007

GenClass: Online Genealogy Classes Start Today!

GenClass was first announced about a month ago. Here is a link to Dick Eastman's announcement. Genealogy classes are now being offered online by instructors who previously taught classes for

There are 6 classes offered for January:

Family Tree Maker 16 - The Basics - Learn The Basics of FTM with an Expert.

Jump Start your Genealogy!
- Just where do you start if you are interested in your family tree? - detailed instructions.

Native American Genealogy
- Learn how to start your research for your Native American Ancestors.

Northeastern United States Genealogy
- Research in the NE states is fundamental to the trees of many Americans.

Adoption Investigative Class - Detailed search advice and assistance for successfully locating and reuniting adoptees and birth families.

Lost Friends and Family Investigative Class
- Detailed search advice and assistance on the methods to use for successfully tracing "lost" relatives and friends.

I signed up for the Northeastern US class and hope that it goes well. It is a 4 week course with 2 lessons each week. I already read the 1st lesson and it was pretty good. There are also 2 chat sessions each week in order to ask questions and talk about the lessons.

My only complaint is not knowing when the chat sessions would be when I signed up. Neither of the times are very convenient for someone living in the Pacific time zone. The class cost $30 and will be worth the cost if I feel like I gained valuable knowledge in the end.

October 11, 2006

Interviews and Oral Histories

Since October is Family History Month, I think it's a good idea to try and get some stories from your family members. I don't live near any immediate family, but I have emailed my parents for some stories on their ancestors and it's been fun reading about them and posting some pictures and stories (and there are more to come).

I found a good article at Genealogy Today called, How to Talk to Family: Interviews and Oral Histories. If you have a chance to talk to some relatives this month, make good use of your time. And if you don't see any family until the upcoming Holidays, prepare yourself and have your tape recorder or video recorder handy. My husband just bought me an MP3 player and I'm excited that it works as a recorder too. It would have been helpful last month when my father-n-law was visiting and started telling stories about his dad and grandfather. Next time I'll be ready. :)

September 20, 2006

Soundex Genealogy Searches

A few weeks ago I went to a presentation by Steve Morse about his One-Step Database at my local Genealogy Society Meeting. He basically went through his whole website in 90 minutes explaining how everything works. Most of the presentation I had read online, so it wasn't that new to me, but the part about generating Soundex Codes got me excited. I had never heard about needing soundex codes since I used when I first started researching and their site searches soundex for you. But I did not resubscribe to this year, so I have been using Heritage Quest Online instead to access U.S. Federal Census records. But as many users of this site know, they do not search by soundex. The spelling you type in is the only one their search engine can find.

So when I got home from Mr. Morse's presentation, I looked up a soundex code for one of my ancestors and then tried to use it at Heritage Quest Online. Nothing happened. I couldn't figure out how it worked. So I did some research and at first I just found a bunch of articles explaining how to figure out the Soundex code for a name. There is a very thorough article by Dick Eastman, and another one at I finally found another article by Kimberly Powell titled, Heritage Quest Online - Census Records. One of the cons on her list for this site is that there are no soundex or wildcard searches. This is definitely a con. I really enjoy using this website since it's free with my library card, but the census records are sometimes hard to search with only the head of household indexed and no soundex searching.

If you are searching a census and need the soundex code, there is a quick one-step converter by Steve Morse. And the PAF program also has a soundex calculator, so other genealogy programs might have this as well.

April 19, 2006

PERSI - PERiodical Source Index

Kimberly Powell recently wrote an article titled, Top 10 Overlooked Genealogy Records. There were some interesting records included, but the last one jumped out at me since I've seen it somewhere before. It is called PERSI - The PERiodical Source Index.

For a good explanation of what the PERSI is, please visit Kimberly Powell's description.

The place I have seen this reference is at HeritageQuest Online. I have written about this website before and how you can access it for free with your library card.

It seems I need to start using HeritageQuest Online for more than just the Census Records. The PERSI seems to be a valuable resource as well.

It does look like you do have to pay to have the information sent to you though. I just tried to access a few different articles on some Bickels in my family and it sent me to this link for ordering copies. It could be a bit pricey.

February 14, 2006

Finding Women's Maiden Names

About a month ago my mom found a helpful article in the Daily Herald titled, Strategies For Finding Women's Maiden Names. The article was written by LaRae Free Kerr and gives 9 different ideas for locating a women's maiden name. They are:

1. Inspect your own family records
2. Check the family records belonging to other people
3. Find the County (or city) marriage record
4. Check the big databases such as FamilySearch, and
5. Search newspapers for your family
6. Search Daughters of the American Revolution Bible records
7. Search Censuses for mother-n-laws, brother-n-laws, etc.
8. Research land deeds
9. Check probate records

To learn more about each step, please visit the article. LaRae also gave one other helpful suggestion.

There is one aid essential to finding female maiden names. It is Reassembling Female Lives, a National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 88, Number 3, Sept. 2000, available for about $7 at NGS Bookstore, 4527 Seventeenth Street North, Arlington, VA 22207-2399 or e-mail to

January 24, 2006

Free Genealogy Toolkit

Yesterday as I was searching Cyndi's List, I came across a website called It's a website that offers professional research help with your genealogy, over 13,000 genealogy products, and a chance to order documents from the Family History Library. Most of their services come with a fee, but they are offering a free genealogy toolkit to help beginners get started or to help old-timers get better organized.

The forms in this genealogy kit include:

* Pedigree Chart
* Family Group Record
* Research Calendar
* Research Extracts
* Contact Log
* Checklist of Genealogical Sources
* U.S. Census Abstract Forms

To download the forms using Adobe Reader go to this site. You will get a PDF of 31 different pages. You can then print out the whole packet, or pick and choose which charts will be most useful to you.

January 19, 2006

Pick a Resolution

Kimberly Powell has come up with 10 good ideas for New Years Resolutions for Genealogy. Now that we're 19 days into 2006 and might have already given up on some of our other resolutions, maybe we should set one or two for our genealogy work. I have picked my 3 favorites and plan to work on them this year.

1. Interview a Relative

One thing many of us postpone until it is too late is talking to our own family members about our shared heritage. Now is the time to get in touch with those relatives you’ve been meaning to contact. If you are fortunate enough to have older members in the family, approach them first. Some of them may have information about the family that can’t be found elsewhere. If you have already spoken to your parents and grandparents, then extend your research net to include extended family such as brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.

My husband has a grandmother about to turn 95 years I think she might be one of these older members in the family who I need to interview.

5. Label & Store Your Family Photos

Most of us have piles of precious family photographs sitting in piles or boxes waiting to be labeled, organized, put into scrapbooks, digitized, etc. Don't let another year go by with those photos fading both from light and from people's memories. Get together with relatives and identify as many people as you can and label those pictures. Be sure to use a photo-safe marking pencil or pen! If you have access to a scanner then consider digitizing the photos onto CD-ROM to preserve them indefinitely. Even if you don't have time to create scrapbooks and really get the photos organized right now, make sure you get them out of old envelopes and shoeboxes and into archival quality plastic sleeves or acid-free photo boxes before they are lost forever. Make copies of important photographs and other important documents and share them with another family member. The recipient will no doubt enjoy the gift, and a second copy will help to ensure that these precious photos will not be lost forever in the event of an unforeseen disaster.

I am in the process of trying to attach a photo to as many people as I can in my genealogy file.

8. More Than Names & Dates

Sometimes in the rush to get our lines as far back as we can we forget to take the time to learn more about the people our ancestors were and the times they lived in. Take time this year to record family stories, either electronically or on paper before this oral history is lost forever. Go out and find at least one additional record on each of your direct ancestors, choosing a record which will hopefully tell you more about them than you already know. Census records include interesting information such as your ancestors' occupation, education level and property value. Wills and probate records can provide you with all sorts of fascinating information including debts, friends and even the bed covers and pots and pans your ancestors owned. Tax rolls, immigration records and land records are other good sources for information about the lives of your ancestors. You can also chart your ancestor's life against a historical timeline and learn more about wars, plagues, crop shortages, big storms and other noteworthy things your ancestor may have experienced.

This one goes along with interviewing a relative and it's definitely an important reminder for me. When I first started genealogy research all I cared about was finding names. Now I want to go back and put some meat into my file with stories and pictures.

January 16, 2006

Googling Genealogy Search Tips

Back in July I posted an article titled, Getting the Most out of Google Searches. I had found an article at that gave some tips for using the search engine with your genealogy research. I just found another article written by Kimberly Powell titled, Googling Genealogy Style. She lists 12 google search tips for genealogists. They are:

1. Search with a focus
2. Search without stops
3. Search suggested alternate spellings
4. Bring sites back from the dead
5. Find related sites
6. Follow the trail
7. Search within a site
8. Cover your bases
9. Find people, maps, and more
10. Pictures from the past
11. Glancing through google groups
12. Narrow your search by file type

January 10, 2006

A genealogy goal for each month of 2006

Maureen Taylor recently wrote an interesting article for Ancestry Daily News. It was titled, A Year of Preservation, and listed a genealogical goal for each month of 2006. I thought they were good ideas and that I should post them here.

Start the year right and take care of all those family photographs you took during the season. Have you seen the Epson Picture Mate commercial where people are frozen in an active pose because no one has taken time to print their digital images? I laugh every time I see it. It’s all too familiar a scenario in many households. Make a decision to print your digital images or take your film to be processed. Then sit down right away and label them using a writing implement suitable for pictures. See my earlier column “Photographic Memories of the Holidays” for last year’s photo resolutions.

Valentine’s Day makes me think about all the love stories on my family tree. Each marriage represents a tale of passion and sometimes heartache. For instance, I wonder how my grandparents met. My Mom told me about meeting Dad but I never asked my grandmother those important questions. Spend a moment listening to the romantic stories in your family. Write them down, video tape the conversation or tape record it.

Here in New England, March is a nasty month of variable weather usually featuring ice and bone numbing cold. What a great time to stay inside putting your photographs in order in acid and lignin free albums or to arrange your family heirlooms. If you need some help, read “Saving Your Family Treasures One Step at a Time.”


Know any good jokes? April Fools’ Day can be a reminder to find out about your ancestors recreational pursuits. Did they attend fraternal organization meetings, play in band, or belong to any local clubs? You can learn more about their leisure activities by interviewing family. My maternal grandparent’s and their extended family used to entertain themselves with musical evenings of song and dance. I know this because my mother and her sisters told me stories about them.

Plant some genealogical seeds in your children’s minds. In “Why Genealogy is Important to Kids," I explored some reasons why family history and kids is a natural match.

How about taking a few moments to look at the photos and papers that have accumulated during the school year? Ask your child to help decide what to discard and get them talking about their memories. “School’s Out for Summer” offers other suggestions for keeping on top of the mess.

During those hot moist summer days watch out for temperature and humidity damaging your heirlooms. Color photographs left in a stack can end up stuck together just from fluctuations in those two environmental issues. If you’re storing things in a hot attic or damp basement it’s definitely time to get those boxes of heirlooms in a stable area like an indoor closet. Consult the useful tips in “Protected from the Elements: Storing Heirlooms at Home.”

Every two years my husband’s family has a reunion. It’s fun for kids and the adults like seeing each other. The lazy hazy days at the end of the summer are good for getting together with relatives. Plan a small family barbecue or a large reunion. Ask family to contribute some food and RELAX.

Now that the kids are back in school it’s time to hit a historical society or two looking for missing family data. Last August I wrote an article about stepping away from your computer to walk into a library or historical society. The response was overwhelming. See what caused the fuss in “Custodians of Our Past” and the follow-up article.

I know we just finished with the holiday season, but in October it’s time to start planning those family history related holiday gifts. Craft, hobby and scrapbook stores begin thinking about the winter holidays in the summer. Here’s an interesting tidbit -- those stories that appear in December magazines are written in July.

Ask family to bring a story, heirloom or picture with them to the holiday table to share with relatives. Just watch out for gravy and make sure your hands are clean. You’re bound to learn at least one new fact about your relatives.


You’ve come full circle. It’s been a busy year of remembering family and tracking down genealogical information. Congratulate yourself on a job well done and take a rest. There’s always next year to make a set of resolutions.

August 26, 2005

Organization for a trip to the Family History Library

I thought this Ancestry Quick Tip for August 25, 2005 was a great idea from Debbe Hagner.

Organizing Your To-Do List To Be More Effective

I remember when I first went to the Family History Library I was able to look at forty to fifty films in a week's time. For those who have been to Salt Lake City, the Family History Library can be overwhelming. The key to success is how well you organize and plan your trip.

On my last trip to the library in Salt Lake City I decided to use Excel and I created the following columns:

* Floor
* Priority
* Film #
* Title with who what where and when
* Family Name or Client name
* Results

I used Excel's landscape mode to print all the columns that I needed. I sorted:-

1. by PRIORITY--whether they were restricted, vault or "See Attendant"
2. by the floor on which the records were located, and
3. by family or clients.

This method was so effective for me that I was able to go thru 250+ films in one week. The neatest thing about it is that it is ALL on one paper! When you are finished with the film you can check it off and write in the results. I used the following in my results column:

* F--Found
* NF--Not Found
* Missing--Permanently missing from the vault and library (I had one situation like that)
* No Public access (I had one film that I was not allowed to access)
* Out--not in the drawer (check again later)
* PC--Poor copy or quality
* Wrong film (Need to investigate to see what I did wrong)

August 23, 2005

10 Ways to Trace Your Family Tree from Home

I am a stay-at-home mom, so I don't have many opportunities to go to libraries or Family History Centers to do Genealogy Research. Most of my research is done at home by using the Internet. So I thought this article was helpful - Armchair Genealogy - 10 Ways to Trace Your Family Tree from Home.

Kimberly Powell lists 10 ways to research from home and I've included some articles I've written that may help with her ideas.

1. Quiz the Kin - 120 Questions to ask your Relatives
2. Get Help from the Mormons - FamilySearch
3. Network with Others - Making Connections through the Internet
4. Check the Local Library - HeritageQuest Online
5. Write a Letter...or two
6. Search and Re-Search - Getting the most out of Google Searches
7. Learn about Where they Lived - Map Your Ancestors
8. Go Local - World GenWeb
9. Root Through Records - Records to Use
10. Bone up on History

August 17, 2005

How to Wisely use the Internet for Genealogy Research

A reader of Ancestry Daily News asked Paula Stuart-Warren just what professional genealogists mean when they say "go online." Paula then wrote two explanatory articles with helpful tips for using the Internet.

What Do You Do When You 'Go Online?'

More Online Searching Tips

August 12, 2005

Genetic Genealogy or "Genetealogy"

Not too long ago I received an email from one of my husband's distant relatives. His name is Reg, and we first made contact via WorldGenWeb. We conversed a few times sharing information and he described his relationship to my husband as follows:

"Without going into a long listing of details, your husbands mother and I each have in our DNA makeup, an identical 6.25% of the DNA of our ancestral patriarchs, Samuel McAuslane and Flora Ramsay. Your husband and my daughter(contempories in age) each carry 3.125% of that DNA."

I thought it was a bit strange that he would describe his relationship to my husband using DNA percentages, instead of just saying they're third cousins once removed. But genetic genealogy research, sometimes called "genetealogy," is becoming much more common these days. There's going to be a Genetic Genealogy Seminar the day before the FGS Conference in Salt Lake City next month, which I assume a lot of the genealogists coming into town for the conference will also be going to. I don't know much about DNA testing myself, but here are a few good articles that I'd recommend reading as an introduction.

Genetics & Genealogy by Thomas H. Roderick, PhD
An introduction to Genetic Genealogy by Alan Savin
Genetics & Genealogy - An Introduction With Y-DNA Case Study Examples by Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.

I also found an interesting survey done by Megan Smolenyak, writer for The survey asked three multiple-choice questions:

1. How would you describe your participation in genetic genealogy?
(a) Have not done it and am not interested
(b) Am “getting smart” about it to decide whether to try it
(c) Will likely try it within the next 6 months
(d) Have taken (or sponsored/facilitated) one DNA test
(e) Have taken (or sponsored/facilitated) more than one DNA test
(f) Am active participant in a DNA project, but don't manage it
(g) Manage a DNA project

2. If you have not participated in genetic genealogy, which of the following explain why?
(a) Don't understand it yet
(b) Not sure it would help my genealogical research
(c) Concerned about privacy
(d) Too expensive
(e) Other

3. If you have participated in genetic genealogy, which kind of test(s) have you taken (or sponsored/facilitated)?
(a) Y-DNA
(b) mtDNA
(c) DNAPrint/BioGeographical
(d) African Ancestry
(e) Native American Ancestry
(f) Other Ethnic (Cohanim, Tribes of Britain, etc.)
(g) Other

To view her results, click here.

August 10, 2005

Tombstone Rubbing

The Genealogy Tip of the Day from is on Tombstone Rubbing. I have yet to go visit cemeteries in search of deceased ancestors, but I know that many genealogists do it. I thought this might be a good alternative to just taking a snapshot of the tombstone.

The Perfect Tombstone Rubbing

You can achieve a clear, durable impression of a tombstone engraving by using wax crayons and interfacing material, such as Pellon, found at your local fabric store. Interfacing fabric is wonderful for tombstone rubbings because it is inexpensive (about $1.25/yard), folds neatly into a suitcase (unlike paper) and doesn't tear.

To create the perfect rubbing start by ensuring that the stone is stable, is not crumbling and that you have permission to do the rubbing (in some states it is actually illegal). Next cut a piece of non-fusible interfacing material slightly larger than the face of the stone. Use masking tape or a partner to hold the material tightly around the stone. Rub gently, but firmly, over the inscription with the side of a jumbo wax crayon or a block of rubbing wax until you have a good impression of the entire tombstone inscription. Once you get home you can preserve your rubbing by placing it wax side up on an ironing board, then cover with an old towel and iron. This will set the crayon or wax into the fabric and preserve it indefinitely.

August 5, 2005

Wasted Time Re-Researching

I found an Ancestry Quick Tip titled Wasted Re-research Time. This quick tip by Earlene Scott is to remind others to document all their resources and what was found. Even if you don't find any information, just make a note that you've already checked that source so you don't end up checking it over and over and finding nothing. I have gone back to the same Census Record many times before because I didn't make a note of what I found there, so I am slowly working on following Earlene's advice.'s editor then made a note at the end of this Quick Tip that said that's Charts & Forms area includes a research calendar to help you record all your sources and information. I was not aware of this, so I downloaded it and it looks like this. It could be a helpful way to keep track of your research.

July 7, 2005

Canada Censuses

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has access to the 1881 Canadian Census and it is definitely the easiest way to search this census. In the Prince Edward Island site I've been using to search the 1841, 1891, and 1901 Censuses, all the members of a family living on the same lot of land are listed together and it's hard to separate each individual family. I've seen 25 MacAuslands all living on Lot 13 and I'm not sure which children belong to which adults. There is no order to the names. On the other hand, the 1881 Census on FamilySearch separates these people into their respective families and makes it easier for researching genealogists.

If you're like me, you've had a hard time finding places to search the Canada Censuses, so here are a few sites that list websites to use.

The Online International Census Indexes and Records
Cyndi's List - Census Related Sites Worldwide
Generations - Census Online

July 5, 2005

Making Connections through the Internet

Recently I found a distant relative's email address and we started to trade information. She lives in Florida and I live in Utah. Our ancestors come from Prince Edward Island and New England. It's amazing that we even found each other living so far apart, but that is the beauty of the Internet. You can find information about almost anyone on the Internet.

This nice lady, Carol, then gave me the email address for a relative of ours still living in Canada, and I am now conversing with him too. I've received pictures and information I might not have ever found otherwise.

John Barlow Family Picture.jpg
John Barlow Family Picture (great-great-great grandfather right in the middle)

So to encourage the use of Internet connections, I thought I would post the 8 great-grandparents of my husband and the 8 great-grandparents of myself and see if anyone related to us will find it and make a connection.

Leander Emil Lund (Oct 20, 1892 to Jun 14, 1925)
Ruby Lavern Fredrickson (Sep 15, 1896 to Jun 10, 1925)
Frank Ephraim Chapman (Apr 23, 1892 to Nov 21, 1918)
Birdie Sophia Blomquist (Oct 28, 1888 to Oct 9, 1954)
Lewis Mayham Sherrill (May 3, 1881 to Apr 27, 1952)
Lillian Rose Sherlock (Jan 28, 1883 to Dec 16, 1979)
Edd Reed (Aug 15, 1894 to Jun 12, 1966)
Inez Mullins (Aug 27, 1895 to Nov 15, 1919)

George Alexander Hersam (Oct 16, 1878 to Dec 9, 1960)
Mabel Worthen Horne (Dec 16, 1880 to Sep 17, 1917)
Arthur Swan Clark (Aug 9, 1880 to Mar 18, 1952)
Edith Chandler Abbott (Nov 23, 1879 to Jan 25, 1978)
Charles Bickel (Sep 12, 1870 to Feb 8, 1943)
Anna Louisa Murphy (Feb 7, 1879 to Apr 8, 1954)
Eliot Howe French (Oct 7, 1859 to Mar 17, 1929)
Elizabeth McCausland/MacAusland (Dec 15, 1871 to Mar 20, 1957)

June 27, 2005

Genealogy Interview Questions

Sometimes when I am trying to gather family stories and information from my husband's 94 year old grandmother I don't know exactly what to ask her. released a list of great questions written by Juliana Smith back in February of 2001. Here is the list of questions.

* Where did you grow up?
* How long did your family live in the area(s)?
* Were there other family members in the area? Who?
* Did you live on a farm? What kind of crops did you grow?
* What kind of livestock or other animals did you keep?
* Did you have any pets?
* What was the house or apartment like? How many rooms?
* What kind of amenities did it have? (indoor plumbing, electricity or gas, phone, television, etc.)
* Were there any special items in the house that stand out in your mind (favorite possessions of yours, your parents, or siblings)?
* What kind of area/neighborhood was it?
* Did the town have a railroad? Post office? What kind of stores or shops?
* What was your family's religious affiliation?
* Where did you go to church?
* What religious ceremonies did you take part in?
* Did you have godparents or sponsors?
* Where did you go to school?
* What level education do you have?
* What was your favorite subject to study?
* Did you have any special interests when you were growing up (sports, hobbies, crafts, etc.)?
* What kind of games did you play?
* What was your favorite toy?
* What other things did you do for fun (go to beach, park, movies, zoo, etc.)?
* Did your family ever take trips or go on vacation?
* Do you speak any foreign languages?
* Did you have family reunions?
* Who were your friends when you were growing up?
* Who were the close friends of the family?
* Describe the personalities of your family members.
* Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
* Were there any serious illnesses in your family?
* Do any illnesses run in the family?
* Were there any memorable traditions that your family practiced?
* Can you remember any stories that were told to you as a child (fictional, folklore, or real life)?
* What events stand out in the memory of your childhood (historical, personal, familial, storms or disasters, fire, etc.)?
* What inventions or developments changed your life, and how?
* What was your father's occupation? Where did he work?
* Did your mother work? Where?
* Did you work? Where?
* Did anyone in your family ever serve in the military?
* Did anyone in your family ever hold a public office?
* What was your favorite song?
* Did anyone in your family play a musical instrument?
* What were your family's favorite meals? Are there any special family recipes?
* Were certain foods eaten or avoided on certain occasions?
* Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
* What kind of organizations did your family belong to (fraternal, charitable, scouting, etc.)?
* What special skills do you have?
* How did you come into your profession?
* When did you move away from home?
* Have you ever been married? If so, to whom? When?
* Where did you meet your husband/wife?
* Did you exchange any special gifts?
* How long did you date before getting married?
* Where did you get married?
* Who participated in your wedding?
* Did you have a reception? Was there music? What songs were played?
* Do you have a copy of your wedding invitation?
* Was there an announcement in the newspaper? Which paper?

June 13, 2005

Finding Family History Centers

The LDS church has many family history centers scattered throughout the world that are available for use. In order to find the closest one to you, you can look on Family Search and type in what country, state/province, county, and city you live in and it will find the closest family history center for you.

You do not need to be a member of the LDS church to use their facilities. They offer the use of,, as well as PAF, PAF Insight, and PRF Magnet. The centers also provide access to most of the microfilms and microfiche in the Salt Lake Family History Library to help patrons identify their ancestors.

June 6, 2005

Records to use

The following is a list of records to use when researching your family history. You'll have to find personal records on your own, but most of the other records can be found at sites like or

Personal Records

* Diaries/Journals
* Personal Letters
* Oral Histories
* Photographs

Other Records

* Adoption records
* Baptism or christening records
* Birth records
* Cemetery records and tombstones
* Census records
* City directories and telephone directories
* Daughters of the American Revolution records
* Death records
* Emigration, immigration and naturalization records
* Land and homestead records
* Marriage and divorce records
* Medical records
* Military records
* Newspaper columns
* Obituaries
* Occupational records
* Passports
* School and alumni association records
* Ship passenger lists
* Social Security records
* Tax records
* Voter registration records
* Wills and probate records

June 1, 2005

Searching Census Records's Newsletter had a great tip of the month for May 2005. The tip was to get started in family history by searching Census Records. I completely agree with this tip and have found probably about 50% of my 8000 names by searching the US Federal Census Records. You can access these records with either a subscription to or I think these are the two main sites that carry the Censuses, but they do both cost money. You can go to any LDS Family History Center though and access for free.

I tried a free 2-week trial with and really liked it, so therefore signed up for a year subscription. I have not tried yet, so I do not know which is better or offers more information for a better price. has a 2-week trial as well though, so perhaps I will investigate it. I would love to hear others feedback on either site.

The U.S. Censuses offer great information such as a person's age, where they were born, where they currently live, their occupation, and their relationship to the others in their household. These records started in 1790, and continue for every 10 years until 1930...but most of the 1890 Census was burned and cannot be accessed. I don't like to use any Census earlier than 1850 though, because those earlier Censuses only list the head of the household's name and then tally marks stating how old the women and men are who live w/ them. In 1850 they start to name each individual person and their age and place of birth. Then later on the censuses add the relationship to head of household and then in 1900 they even mark the month and year each person was born and their age at first marriage.

If you are looking for people who lived during the 1800's or early 1900's, this is probably the easiest way to find them and lots of other information too.

Contact info

  Email me - Online Diaries, Journals and more.