search strategies

4 May 2015

Primary Source Analysis Tool

The Primary Source Analysis Tool is a creation of the Library of Congress that can help your genealogy research.

LC’s Primary Source Analysis Tool was originally designed to help teachers enliven history for their students using historical documents. The exercises built into the Primary Source Analysis Tool can also be helpful for genealogy research, encouraging you to look at family primary source photos or documents with a fresh perspective.

For genealogical purposes, it helps to use the Primary Source Analysis Tool on your family primary sources with other genealogist friends or groups. Or you can think of yourself as both the teacher and the student as you work through the questions.

The Library of Congress exercise is as follows:

Using Primary Sources

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by […]

10 Feb 2015

FamilySearch Targeted Searches

FamilySearch targeted SearchesFamilySearch targeted searches now make it possible to search a group of databases by location.

I went to FamilySearch a different way recently and discovered a new (to me) way to do location searches. (I’ll be watching the comments and you can tell me if this feature has always been there all along!)

My searches on FamilySearch used to be limited to:

  1. Broad search from main page of all of their databases, or
  2. Limited search of one database on that resource’s page

#1 returned mostly terrible results, while #2 was effective but often too narrow. (And Goldilocks agrees with me.)

Happily, FamilySearch now makes it is now possible to search a group of databases by location, or what librarian types call a targeted search. FamilySearch targeted Searches often yield better results that are just right (and Goldilocks approves).

Here’s how to do FamilySearch Targeted Searches:

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4 Nov 2014

Request Free FamilySearch Scans – Tuesday’s Tip

UPDATE: The Family History Library has announced: “Online requests for photo duplication services of microfilm and books are no longer available.” Click the link above for more information from FamilySearch.

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Did you know you can request free FamilySearch scans for specific records? The good people at FamilySearch.org have been offering to scan and email specific records from microfilm and books in their collections for free for some time. But FamilySearch recently unveiled a new online form for requests, so even if you have used the service before, this post can help you.

Here are the steps to request free FamilySearch scans:

  1. Register for a free FamilySearch account here, if you do not already have one.
  2. Check to make sure record is available in the FamilySearch.org collections and that it is not already available online.
  3. Submit a maximum of five requests (one image per request) each month, using the new photoduplication request form.
  4. Provide the following REQUIRED information in […]
19 Oct 2014

Where We Came From in the U.S.

Where we came from in the United States…and where we went is the subject of today’s post. These infographics from the New York Times illustrate domestic migration from 1900 through 2012. You know I love a good set of interactive maps for genealogy research and these are fascinating.

These maps use census data to illustrate where residents of each state were born. The map can also be reversed to show where people who were born in a particular state moved. Each state has its own complexities. Epic trends, such as European immigration at the turn of the century or the Great Migration of African-Americans northward during WWII, are made visible.

Arizona and Illinois are featured in today’s post. Click here to see infographics on each of the 50 states.

The New York Times writes:

The following charts document domestic migration since the turn of the last century, based on census data. For every state, we’ve broken down the […]