Essential Reading: Core Genealogy Methods

Getting Started on Your Family History

The exploration of your own family history can be a fun and fulfilling pursuit. Your ancestry includes thousands of unique individuals whose stories tell fascinating tales. Below are some key building blocks to help you begin your family history as you explore this fascinating and rewarding activity. Read the guide.

The genealogy interview: Asking relatives questions to grow your family tree

Have you had the chance to sit down with your relatives and capture their knowledge of the family? 

If you're a beginner, this is the absolute perfect place to start gathering details about your ancestors. And even if you're an experienced genealogist, conducting some conversational interviews with your family members can help you break through brick walls. This article walks you through how to do it. Read the article.

Are you asking the right genealogy research question?

Genealogy is a skill and requires a solid foundation. Similar to the Scientific Method, if you follow the appropriate genealogy research steps and best practices, you’ll be much more successful and your findings will be more likely to be your true ancestors.

Thinking carefully about your research question is the perfect place for a beginner to start before searching. If you just recently interviewed your relatives at a family gathering, the next step is to formulate your first research question. Read the article.

Essential Methods: Research Logs

A well-formed research log is one of the most powerful tools you can use to improve the results of your family history research. The benefits are substantial—you will save a lot of time by avoiding repeat searches, and information about your prior searches can lead to discoveries down the road. 

If you’re not keeping a research log, now is an excellent time to start—if you are, it can't hurt to do a quick check to make sure you’re using your research log optimally. Read the article.

Estimating dates and ages in genealogical writing

Dates and ages are fundamental elements of genealogy. As many researchers know, it's not uncommon to arrive at a date or age in our family history that we know isn't exact - but when you do, what's the proper way to document your estimate and describe it in your writing? And how do you come up with the estimation in the first place? Read the article.