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 […]
You are browsing archives for
Category: Tips and Training
Verify Your Oral History
One of the first things we’re instructed when we begin our genealogy journey is to interview our elders. This is by far one of the most important things for us do. Our family members can provide information we may never find in documents. It has always been ironic to me that the time when most […]
Deed Record Bonanza
I’ve discussed deeds in this blog before and why they should be a cornerstone record in researching the lives of your ancestors. In this post, I show how using deeds connected a family from the 1850s through the mid-twentieth century. Levin Waters Levin Waters and other ancestors lived in Somerset County, Maryland in a little community called […]
Follow the Witness: They May Have the An...
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 […]
Are Your Assumptions Leading You Astray?
It’s fine to make assumptions during your genealogical research. In fact, we all do it whether we think we do or not. However, as we review our sources and uncover evidence, we have to remember our assumptions. We must be willing to let them go in light of new information. We need to follow where the evidence […]
Genealogy Resource Recommendations
I’ve talked before on this blog about the importance of reading genealogical books in order to learn about how to use various record sets. I want to highlight two of the best resources for genealogical research that some of you may be unaware of. The book “The Source” has been a mainstay of genealogists since […]
Slave Research: Four Things You Need to ...
I’ve been conducting slave research on my family and teaching others how to do it for about 18 years now. There are a few points I tend to mention repeatedly on Reclaiming Kin, but thought it would be a good idea to list them all in one place. Especially for beginners, there are some things […]
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: […]
Why We Need To Cite Our Sources
Sometimes it can seem as if there is a civil war going on in the genealogical community. After we start researching our families, at some point we hear about the necessity of source citations. Once we figure out exactly what they are, some of us think, “That looks complicated. I don’t have time to do […]
Shaky Leaves and the Importance of Thoro...
We’ve all seen those shaky leaves on Ancestry. For a long time, I never clicked on them. But last year I found some treasures hidden within the hints, so now I periodically investigate all those shaky leaves. Earlier this week, I found a leaf for Syvoid Holt, a collateral ancestor. The leaf linked to an […]