Online Genealogy Research Tips

Read these 20 Online Genealogy Research Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Genealogy tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I find out more about my female ancestors.

Female Ancestors - Who Were Her Associates?

After you've obtained and reviewed all the documents you can find regarding your female ancestor, it's time to expand the search.

First, you must start to research her neighbors, relativies and friends. In the past, family members often lived close by, and may have left some mention of your ancestor in their records.

Secondly, research her husband's associates - such as classmates, business partners, and friends. It is highly probably that some of these people could be your female ancestor's releatives. It was very likely that one of these associates was instrumental in bringing your female ancestor together with her husband!

   
What is a Digital Library?

Digital Libraries & Archives

It is a digital age; that is for sure. For many online genealogy researchers this use of digital searching has been superb. There are some important things to remember when doing research through an online public library computer or archives.

First, just because you can view a public library's online public access catalog, or an online card catalog, doesn't mean you will actually be able to read the book you find the information you need in. Someday that may be possible, but as of right now you may view card catalogs online, but will have to actually go to the library to read the book or view the document that you found in the online catalog.

If you are searching an online card catalog from a nearby library, just write down your findings and take them in to the library during your next visit to continue your research.

   
How Will I Know That I am Organized?

Some Organizational Questions

Feeling organized with all that research you have done? If you are truly organized you should be able to answer "yes" to all of these questions. If you aren't truly organized, you may need to improve your organizational skills before continuing your ancestry search:

1. Do you know what information you have for each ancestor?

2. Do you know what information you are missing for each ancestor?

3. Can you find or name the resources you have used?

4. Can you tell every name of all the books you have used for your research?

5. Can you name whom you have contacted regarding your research?

6. Can you actually find the above pieces of information for answering these questions in a very short amount of time?

If you answered no, you may want to research some organizational strategies to keep your papers in order. You should be able to find the answers to these questions quickly and orderly.

   
How Can I Keep My Genealogy Research Safe?

How to Keep Your Online Research Safe

With all the research people do online today for genealogy purposes, it is important to be able to keep your records safe from computer viruses. A virus can occur in anything new that enters your computer system, things such as a download, a CD, a disk or a file. A virus can wipe out your entire computer, taking along with it your genealogy records. How can you keep these records safe?

First, if you receive attachments from someone about your genealogy search, and you aren't sure who that person is, never open an attachment that you aren't sure who the sender is. It could be infected with a virus.

Make sure you back up all important files you have pertaining to your genealogy. If you transfer all of your information to a disk, you will have that should anything happen to your computer files.

One other important thing to do is to invest in a good virus protection software. Some you can download for free, others that are more detailed have a fee. Either way, if you have a good virus detection program on your computer you should be able to keep your genealogy records safe.

   
What is an Online Genealogy Community?

Joining an Online Community

Have you thought that you are the only person you know interested in genealogy or online research of your ancestry? Many times, other family members don't share your enthusiasm for genealogy and all the interesting information it has to offer. That lack of excitement can affect your attitude or the amount of effort you want to put into it. If you really wish to find others who share your genuine interest in genealogy and you want to be able to chat with others who may help you with your search, why not try joining an online genealogy community?

Several large genealogy websites offer online communities in which you can share your ideas on ancestry research with others and in which you are able to find people who are doing similar searches to yours.

If you are interested, these communities are usually free as long as you register. Do an Internet search for "online genealogy community" to find one that suits you.

   
What are Two Good Search Engines to Use?

Finding Ancestors Online

Trying to search for someone online? Perhaps a missing ancestor or someone you just can't quite find enough genealogy information on? There are two major search engines that will do specific searches for a person. These two search engines may bring up someone with that same surname in which you are searching for. You may then be able to contact that person to see if they know any information about your ancestor.

Try searching the Internet using Alta Vista for your search engine. This search engine will search various web sites for the name you are wanting information on. It will also tell you if the person's name you are searching is mentioned on anyone's web site or web page. Another search engine to try is Deja News which will search Usenet Newsgroups, by either searching newsgroups you tell it to or by searching newsgroups to see if the person has posted a message anywhere on a Usenet newsgroup.

   
How Do I Know my Online Data is Correct?

Online Genealogy Data

There is a plethora of information for genealogy researchers online! The problem that people may find is that they are just never sure if the information found online is actual something that is true, false or somewhere inbetween. Just how do you know if your online genealogy data is true?

There are a couple of things to ask yourself when you find genealogy information online. One, make sure you see if the information you have discovered actually has a source sited with it. If so, check out the source to verify the information. Many places take information from other sources, so you should check your data from each place sited.

If the data you found was actually found as a part of a genealogy project, did the person volunteering the information list the sites and resources they used to find this data?

You should never take any data you find on the Internet as true until you have actually verified it as so. If you feel uneasy or something doesn't add up, do some more digging. You don't want your genealogy data to be incorrect.

   
What Makes an Effective Query?

Effective Queries

Are you still looking for information on an ancestor that you just can't find? Why not try posting a query on a genealogy website for more information? Basically, a query is a posting on an online genealogy bulletin board in which you request information on a certain person. How you post the query is important, after all, you want an effective query in the hopes that someone on the board will be able to assist you with your search.

To post an effective query to a genealogy bulletin board you will want to be as specific as possible. What do you already know about the person? List everything that you know, important dates, locations, marital status and death status. If you don't know specifics, put in as much as possible, such as: lived in or around New York City.

An effective query would read something like this:

Looking for information on Joe NAMELESS, born in 1825, married to Patty SMITH, died perhaps in 1900 near Chicago.

You may not have much information, but you are as detailed as possible. Also note that you listed the surnames in all capitals. This allows other readers to quickly see the surnames in which you are searching. Do not put too many surnames in one query. This will just overwhelm a reader.

If you are interested in posting a query, do a search engine search for "Genealogy Query" to take you to a site in which you are able to post one. Perhaps someone will read your query and be of assistance to you.

   
Why Take Online Genealogy Classes?

Genealogy Classes Online

Are you just starting out in your online genealogy research? Are you slightly confused as to how to go about this whole vast topic of ancestry research? Or, are you already a seasoned pro at researching your ancestry via the Internet? Either way, there are classes online for you to take about genealogy.

If you are just beginning, you will find several of the major genealogy websites that offer free genealogy classes to help get you started. These classes begin with the basics such as how to get started searching on the Internet and what are some great tools for Internet research. Never fear it won't be a waste of your time nor will you lack in choices, both topics have 15 or more lessons included in the classes.

If you are a seasoned genealogist just looking to hone your skills or learn something new, there are classes for you also! You can take classes ranging from how to access help from genealogy societies to how to enhance your online and offline digital photographs.

If you do a search for genealogy websites, you will find several that offer classes such as the above. What are you waiting for?

   
Where Can I Find Free Genealogical Information?

Free Genealogy

If you are looking for your ancestors online and you specifically want free information, the entire 50 states is now part of an exciting project. The U.S. GenWeb project is offering free online information for your search.

Every state in the country now has information that is linked to from the U.S. GenWeb site. Each state offers searches for surnames, important historical events; links to other sites to assist you in your free searching. All of this is done thanks to some very dedicated volunteers from every state.

There are also other sites out there that offer free genealogy. Try doing a search of "free online genealogy" to come up with sites that will allow you to search without paying a fee. One site may come up that offers some fun searches, such as genealogical prison records, in which you can hunt for that black sheep in your family, or a site that offers a free search of family Bibles that are indexed by surname.

   
How do I find out more about my female ancestors.

Female Ancestors - Where to Start

Start your search for information on a female ancestor by focusing closely on the woman herself.

During her lifetimeime many documents may have accumulated - either those created by her, like letters, journals, diaries, or those created about her, like birth, marriage, or death certificates.

These are the first documents you will want to try to locate in your search for information.

   
How do I use a search engine?

Search Engine Tutorial

Having trouble learning how to utilize search engines for your genealogy research? Help is only a click away! Check out this article - "Using Standard Search Engines to Find Genealogy Related Material" - to help you find what you need.

Using Standard Search Engines

   
How do I find out more about my female ancestors.

Women's History in Archival Collections

Sometimes you need to check the history of an entire area to get some clues on where to search for more information on your female ancestor. This site is a great place to start!

A Geographic Guide to Uncovering Women's History in Archival Collections

"This website is a project of the Archives for Research on Women and Gender Project at the University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries. It is a guide to WWW pages of archives, libraries, and other repositories that have primary source materials by or about women."

http://www.lib.utsa.edu/Archives/links.htm

   
How can I find genealogy guides on tape?

Get the Tape!

You can obtain copies of thousands of genealogy guides on audio tape!

Audiotapes.com has more than 6,000 genealogy offerings. If you can't make it to that seminar or class, check out the offerings at Audiotapes.com for some wonderful taped offerings.

Audiotapes.com - Genealogy Recordings

   
Are there any online genealogy courses?

BYU Online Courses

Brigham Young University offers online college courses in family history/genealogy. You can find them at their website under Personal Enrichment Courses.

Link:

   
How do I find online information?

Projects Registry Database

If you're looking for a project that will be providing free Internet access to Genealogically or Historically related information, check out The United States Internet Genealogical Society's "Projects Registry Database"!

Projects Registry Database

   
What are Online References for Genealogy?

Using Online References

Looking for some good online reference sites? Are you confused with what is all out there for you to use? Why not start specifically with online genealogy reference sites to make it a bit easier for you?

First, pay a visit to the U.S. National Genealogy Society (UGS) webpage. This resource will offer you information on genealogy number systems, a registry of genealogy products and much more!

If you are looking specifically for online genealogy sample letters to a church, a letter such as one that would show you how to request information or records appropriately. Do an Internet search for "genealogy sample church letters" or something similar to take you to a site that offers that, there are some out there!

If you need to determine the definition of a word you are coming across in your genealogy search, try finding a genealogy dictionary. Yes, you can do a search engine search for genealogy dictionary to find one that will have definitions to words you need to know.

These are just a few examples of online references. If you do a search engine search for "genealogy online references" you will find many more!

   
What should I do before I head to the library?

Check out libraries online first!

Before you make that long trip to a distant library for research, make sure to check and see if they have a website. A library's website will usuually give you their hours of operation, instructions on how to get there, and often you can access their full catalog on-line.

   
How do I find out about genealogy correspondence courses?

American Genealogy - A Basic Course

The National Genealogical Society offers a sixteen-lesson correspondence course which is designed "for all family historians wanting to research their ancestors more effectively and efficiently."

For more information, visit their website:

National Genealogy Society

   
Why can´t I find my ancestor´s with a search engine?

Search and Re-Search!

Search engine indexes are always being updated. If you've queried a search engine about a certain ancestor or family in the past and come up empty-handed, don't stop trying!

Make a note each time you utilize a particular search engine for query about one of your ancestors. Then, try back in a few weeks or a month. Many new resources will have been indexed or "spidered," and you may find a new connection!

   
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