Everyday Genealogy

by Bob Brooke

Most Recent Articles

Everyday Genealogy is a column which delves into the historical side of genealogy, focusing on family history, long-lost occupations, historical misconceptions, profiles of top genealogical libraries, and how beginning genealogists can use history to their advantage. I'm honored to be part of the team at Genealogy Today. Look here for informative articles on subjects of interest to everyday -- grassroots -- genealogists like yourselves.

Archived Articles

Finding And Using Church Records
Church records are made for ecclesiastical reasons, not to provide genealogists with answers to their questions. They were, and still are, made to report to church authorities the functional success of a church in the community.

Tracing Native American Roots (Part 2)
Those genealogists tracing a Native American lineage should begin by learning as much as possible from older relatives, accumulating facts and stories that can be documented and build upon with information found in printed sources and public records.

Tracing Native American Roots (Part 1)
People of known Native American descent are becoming interested in tracing their lineages.

19th-Century American Genealogy
In any culture, people generally begin to investigate their past during periods of stability and prosperity.

Texas: Land of Many Nationalities
The fact that many of the ethnic groups there have kept excellent records, Texas, especially South Texas, offers a wealth of genealogical possibilities.

Working With Digital Images Of Old Family Photos
So you managed to successfully scan your old family photographs. Now what?

Scanning Old Photographs
Family genealogists are rapidly adding scanners to their home computers as prices drop and performance improves.

Scrapbooks Help Organize Family Photos and Stories
Holidays are family times. As Christmas draws near, many families gather to reminisce about old times. What better way is there to motivate conversations than to prepare a family scrapbook.

Famous Early Immigrants: The Pilgrims
The Pilgrims were English people who didn't agree with the methods of the Church of England.

Tracing Chicano Roots
Most immigrants over the past 300 years came to America by boat, but a good number have entered the United States by land

Getting The Most From Libraries
(Part 1) (Part 2)

Libraries have long been invaluable resource centers for genealogists. But they represent only one step in the total research process.

Passports Can Offer Proof of Identification
Records of such early passports may be useful to a genealogist if his or her ancestors settled in the area that eventually became Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Coming to 'Terms' with Genealogy
The further back a genealogist searches, the more likely he or she will encounter unfamiliar terms.

Bound Boys
Genealogists often come across archaic terms in their search for the truth. One such term, 'bound boy,' referred to someone who was often taken from an orphanage to become an 'indentured servant.'

Victorian Family Trees
These decorative wall hangings, adorned with angels, wreaths, and ornate banners wrapped around portraits of beloved family members, also provided space to keep a record of the family.

Researching Through Genealogical Societies (Part 2)
The number of historical and genealogical societies in the United States, alone, seems endless. Each can assist the family genealogist in many ways.

Researching Through Genealogical Societies (Part 1)
Genealogical and historical societies can be very helpful when searching for information about ancestors. Those in each state in which ancestors of a family resided for a generation or more are the best.

Using Social History To Fill In The Gaps In Family Histories
When most people begin to write their family's history, they usually focus on the family part of it, namely the genealogy-who begat who and so on.

Port of Entry Can Help Find Ancestral Records
While a few immigrants here and there came through the odd door, most came through specified ports of entry.

Where There's a Will, There's a Way
Studying the wills of ancestors is one way genealogists can not only obtain but authenticate vital information.

Making the Most of Family Associations
One of the most useful tools for amateur genealogists is the family association, an organization formed by people who share a common ancestor or surname.

The Mystery of the Missing Days
The British were among the last countries in the world to accept that fact they were using a flawed calendar.

Tombstone Rubbings, A Fun Way to Keep Records
Rubbings can preserve old tombstones, especially very early ones which may crack and break apart or erode over time.

Scrapbooks Help to Display a Family's Visual History
Whether they're just a few pages bound together with string or more elaborate affairs with leather embossed covers, scrapbooks are an essential part of family history for many folks.

Analyzing and Interpreting Information
Accuracy demands being alert to each clue as a detective searching for each element of a case.

Tracing Pioneer Families
Tracing America s pioneer families as they moved from one area to another constitutes a true detective mystery.

Faddish First Names
Our ancestors displayed an uncanny range of educated sophistication in the naming of their babies.

Soundex Sorts Out Family Names
So how can a name be found if the researcher doesn't know the correct spelling?

Orphans and Illegitimate Children
In genealogy, the idea of someone bringing up an adopted child as their own conflicts with the identity of the biological parents.

How Our Ancestors Got Here
Since 1920, despite a quota system, Germany, Mexico, Canada, England, and the nations of the Caribbean have helped keep the immigration tradition alive.

Hidden Stories in Pictures
Finding an old shoebox of family photographs may, for many genealogists, be equal to discovering buried treasure.

Gazetters Help Find Ancestors
How can a genealogist find a town where an ancestor was born if it no longer exists?

Reading Handwriting of the Past
Handwriting, as with language, changes over time, so what may have been common practice years ago is no longer used.

The Key to a Successful Genealogy Vacation
Regardless of whether you travel 25 or 2,500 miles to do research, there are many things you should do at home in preparation for your trip.

Family Reunions
Usually, these affairs are informal picnics with relatives from the immediate area. But what about a reunion of the extended family?

Organizing Your Notes After a Genealogy Vacation
There's nothing more rewarding than taking a genealogy vacation. But once you return, what should you do with everything that you've learned?

Charlatans and Thieves Steal the Fun from Genealogy
The study of genealogy has been plagued with those who are unwilling to require accuracy in their research.

The Mighty Smiths
The most common family name in the world is Chang. But the name that's most common in Western countries is Smith.

Get Your Kids Involved in Your Family History
Through genealogy, kids can gain a better appreciation for their heritage.

The Spacing of Generations
Beginning genealogists often ask how many generations are likely to occur in a given span of years...

Where Did You Get Those Eyes?
Often there's a mysterious characteristic in a person that can only be explained through genealogy.

Great Migrations
Throughout the last half of the 19th Century and well into the 20th, a great migration took place in the United States.

Men in Search of Whales
While some occupations have changed little over the centuries, others have disappeared entirely.

Charting a Family's Emotional History
Tracing these patterns over the last few generations can shed light on present day problems.

Old Maps, A Source of Ancestral Treasure
The geography of the U.S. has determined its local history in each phase of its development.

Coats of Arms -- The Fruits of a Family Tree
Fighting men of the time wore metal armor...

Traditions, Traditions, Traditions
Stories passed down from generation to generation.

Attic Archaeology
It's amazing what can be found in old trunks and shoe boxes.

Mayflower Society Genealogical Library
They Keep Records of More than Just the Pilgrims!

History Links the Past to the Present
History affects everyone, whether they like it or not.

What's in a Name?
A person's name is one of his or her most personal possessions.

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