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genealogy 
detectiveGENEALOGY QUEST page 2

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This is the second page of Genealogy Quest. If youíd like to start at the beginning, follow that link.

Fieldwork Tips

Mix genealogy with pleasure. The next time you plan a vacation, plan to visit places where your ancestors were born or buried. What happens might surprise you. Our family took a genealogy vacation. We traveled through seven states, went camping, visited a museum, saw a few fun tourist attractions, toured a major zoo and visited old friends. We also met distant relatives, found the graves of many ancestors, did some research at the court houses, and gathered a lot of information we had been looking for. We were even blessed with treats we would not have received otherwise. My aunt gave me a big box of old family photographs, going back six generations. One grandaunt, who has no children to pass heirlooms to, gave me a picture of my Great-Grandmother & Grandfather Caswell. (See Mert and Christine Caswell.) Another grandaunt gave me pictures of my Great-Grandmother Moore. I didn't know what those people had looked like until I saw their pictures. My family treasures those gifts. That genealogy vacation was the most productive, and memorable, vacation we ever took.

If you take such a vacation, plan time to visit the county courthouse. Courthouses Iíve been to will allow one to search their records for genealogy. Search birth records, death records, and land records. If you find your ancestors owned land in the area, ask for a photocopy of the township map for that location.

When visiting the graves of ancestors, take your camera. Photograph the headstones. It gives you a tangible record of what you saw. Some of my distant cousins have asked, "Do you have a picture of the headstone?" It's nice to have that proof for my genealogy records. (If you don't know which cemetery an ancestor is buried in, check their Death Certificate. Check with the county courthouse to see if they know where the cemeteries are and who takes care of them. The caretaker should have a record of everyone buried in their cemetery. You can also try asking a funeral home, or churches, if they have a labeled map of the local cemetery plots.)

Do cluster genealogy, also called "extended-family genealogy" and "whole-family genealogy". This means to widen your search to include not only your direct line of ancestors, but also brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, children, and even their neighbors, in every generation. When you find your ancestors on a census record, and see there was someone else with a different surname living with them, note that person. That person could be a cousin, brother, sister or step-sibling. Neighbors could also be relatives--I've found a couple families like that in my "tree". Cluster genealogy can help provide clues if you get stuck on an ancestor. It can also help you find connections if you meet a distant cousin also doing genealogy.

Keep extra blank forms and notebook paper in your binder. You never know when you might need them. Besides, it is soooo frustrating to get to the Family History Center or courthouse and start doing research -- only to find you donít have forms or paper to write your new data on!

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Where to Find Clues

Lending Libraries
Web Sites


Lending Libraries

Here are some places to look for genealogy information. Note: If you write to these places, and find they have moved, please let me know.

  • American Genealogical Lending Library (AGLL), P.O. Box 244, Bountiful, UT 84011. (telephone 801-298-5358) They have territorial papers, census records, county records, local histories, cemetery records, county records, National Archives microfilm, periodicals. There is an annual membership fee for rental privileges and discount on purchases. Some film is available for purchase.
  • Duke University, Perkins Library, Durham, NC 27706-2597. For interlibrary loan of microfilm census schedules, contact their Newspapers and Microforms Department. To purchase films, contact University of North Carolina, Wilson Library, Special Collections, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514.
  • Family History Library (FHL), 35 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150. Materials are rented through one of their branch history centers, located nationwide.
  • Genealogical Center Library, P.O. Box 71343, Marietta, GA 30007-1343. Rents books and has a reasonable annual membership fee.
  • National Archives Microfilm Rental Program, P.O. Box 30, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0030. (telephone--301-604-3699) Rent federal population census schedules and some American Revolutionary War records on microfilm.

Web Sites

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Help With Genealogy Search Topics

genealogy  help  ball African American Genealogy
genealogy  resources  ball American Revolutionary War Genealogy
genealogy  tips  ball Native American Genealogy

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