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Never Rely On Just the Census

Never Rely On Just the Census

  Ah, the census. The glorious census. It’s such an important document in genealogy, I would venture to say even a foundational document. But its flaws are many. Those who rely on only the census to reconstruct their ancestral families do so at the risk of recreating a family inaccurately. Take for example the case of my ancestor […]

Follow the Witness: They May Have the An...

Follow the Witness: They May Have the Answer

Many of our artificial brick walls are caused by our inability to extract every clue from each source. One of my favorite suggestions is to tell people to Follow the Witness. Many of the most common sources we use, such as deed records, probate records and marriage records, are legal documents that in many cases needed […]

Tips on Using World War Draft Registrati...

Tips on Using World War Draft Registrations

World War Draft Registrations (World War I and World War II) are some of the most valuable records in genealogy research. These records are especially helpful for researching men born in the late 1870s or 1880s. The lack of a 1890 census record makes that 20-year-gap hard to cross. Read the Details It’s important to […]

Sorting Same-Named People

Sorting Same-Named People

I had an enslaved ancestor named Rezin Prather. I thought, “What an odd name. I’ll easily be able to find him in the records.” Guess what? It was a very popular name in Montgomery County, Maryland during the 19th century. There were numerous African-American “Rezin Prathers” floating around the county and in nearby Washington, D.C. […]

What is Genealogy “Methodology”?

What is Genealogy “Methodology”?

Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post about slavery and slaveowners. If anything, it kicked off some great discussions and dialogue about the country’s worst and most contentious period of history. I’ll leave that topic with one quote from one of our greatest slavery historians, Ira Berlin: No understanding of slavery can avoid these themes: […]

 
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