The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Family History Research

Before you start your family history research

What can be better than researching your family history?! While it is a fulfilling pursuit it is also a lot of work. You should expect to run into some problems along the way. It’s important though, that you not create your own frustrations by making mistakes in the initial stages of your research.

A couple of don’ts

  • Don’t make any assumptions.
  • Don’t believe anything you are told unless it can be confirmed by documentation.

Beware of stories suggesting royal or noble descent. Most of our first ancestors had occupations connected to agriculture and the land. The most important order of action is to always start with the known and find your way to the unknown.

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Whose genealogy do you want to trace?

As early on as you can in your project, you should try to make this decision. You may want to trace just your father’s ancestor, or perhaps a maternal line, or all of your children’s ancestors. If you research all four grandparents’ families, then you are tracing your complete lineage, both female and male ancestors. The number of ancestors you will find will double for each generation completed. If you are successful in researching 10 generations, you will have 1022 ancestors.

Our course, Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started, will assist you in using correct research methodology as you trace your family tree.

Who has Grandma’s Photo?

 Family Albums, Friends and Neighbors

Obviously, knowing where a photograph came from is always helpful. Because of social media and genealogy websites, you may have access to family photographs posted by a family member or even a friend of the family. That person’s photograph collection may include more pictures of the same ancestor taken at different times or with other relatives.

Family albums are repositories of photographs of friends, neighbors, and relatives by marriage. It is possible that a photograph of your grandmother may turn up in an album belonging to her former neighbors. Those neighbor’s grandchildren may now have that photograph album in their possession.

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

As you document that photograph and its provenance, you might also want to note the photographer who took the image. The names of photographers and their studio locations are sometimes indicated inside old union cases. In later studio portraits this information is sometimes printed right below the image. This is often the case with Cabinet Cards. These photos can include quite an ornate photographer identification or it may simply state, Merchison Studios, Eligin, Illinois. Most people did not travel far to have their picture taken, so their photographer of choice was right in their neighborhood.

Learning how to examine the content and identifying a photograph is a must for the family historian. With our Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects course you will learn more on how to accomplish this.

Genealogy?

What does Genealogy mean?

A definition found in the dictionary states that “genealogy is the science of tracing your family back through the centuries.” Genealogies record the descent of an individual or a family from a certain ancestor.  It is the study of your pedigree.

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What the dictionary does not explain is the fun and the challenge you can have as you climb your family tree. Think of genealogy as a big, huge puzzle. And you are but one piece of that puzzle.

The mystery in this puzzle is that once you get started, you never know where you’re going or what you’ll find once you get there. With our Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started course you will learn more about these genealogy puzzle pieces. 

 

National Genealogical Society Conference

The National Genealogical Society Family History Conference, “Journey of Discovery”, will be taking place May 7th 11th and we here at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies are excited. Why are we excited? Because we will be attending! 

Image courtesy of Angela Rodesky

We enjoy meeting with our current students, those who have graduated, and new students. No matter where you are at in your genealogy education, we have courses for you. I’m sure you have questions for us so please stop by our booth and visit with Louise St Denis and Angela Rodesky they will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.  

Plus, while there don’t forget to register for your FREE complimentary course just for attending the conference. 

Who, What and Why?

Basic Questions

How do you learn more about a photograph? Here are some basic questions to help get started.

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

WHO is in the photograph?

It would seem that this is a simple question to answer, but identifying people in photographs is not always that easy, especially if there are no other photographs of that person and no living person is around to make the identification. In that case, it may be necessary to rely on a name written on the photograph.

WHAT is in the photograph?

Some photographs have clues that can help identify the subject and the place, even the date, of the photograph. There are numerous things that can appear in a photograph:

  • Houses
  • Commercial buildings
  • Schools
  • Storefronts
  • Cars
  • Street signs

Even Mother Nature can help out if the landscape is studied.

  • Are the trees bare?
  • Is the ground covered in snow?

All of these items are clues to the time of year in which the photo was taken.

WHY was the photograph taken?

Before snapshot cameras became popular around 1900 or so, people did not usually have their photographs taken very often (if at all). So when they did have their photograph taken is was for something special such as a birthday, an engagement or wedding, their arrival in America or in a new town, or a funeral.

Keep in mind that 19th and early 20th century engagement photographs can look almost identical to wedding photographs as most women wore their best Sunday dresses when they married.

It is very helpful to know the basic history of people, places, and things when examining old photographs. These are just some of the topics covered in our Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects course

Ohio Genealogical Society Conference

The Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, “Building A Heritage”, will be taking place May 1st – 4th and we here at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies are excited. Why are we excited? Because we will be attending! 

Image courtesy of Angela Rodesky

We enjoy meeting with our current students, those who have graduated, and new students. No matter where you are at in your genealogy education, we have courses for you. I’m sure you have questions for us so please stop by our booth and visit with Angela Rodesky she will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.  

Plus, while there don’t forget to register for your FREE complimentary course just for attending the conference. 

2019 Alberta Conference Winner

Join us in a round of applause congratulating, Craig Newton.

Image courtesy of Louise St Denis

 

Craig was the winner of our drawing for $1,000 worth of courses during the 2019 Alberta Genealogical Society Conference. Louise had a wonderful time speaking with all of you during the conference. Thank you for stopping by the booth with all of your questions and comments. We want to thank the Alberta Genealogical Society for all of their hard work.

May 2019 Conferences

April is almost over and we at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies are looking forward to May. Will we see you at one of the following conferences? Make sure to check out the exhibit hall, stop by our booth, and visit with us. We look forward to seeing you!

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  1. May 1st – 4th  Ohio Genealogical Society Conference – “Building A Heritage” at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH
  2. May 7th – 11th  National Genealogical Society Conference – “Journey of Discovery”  at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, MO
  3. May 30th – June 2nd  Southern California Genealogical Society – “Jamboree 2019 – 50th Birthday Bash” at the Los Angeles Marriot, Burbank Airport Hotel in Burbank, CA

Research and Collaboration

Collaboration and Brick Walls

Many of us tend to work on our genealogy research alone. It is an independent activity where we can lose ourselves for hours on end. In some cases, family members actually work together to solve a common research problem. It is these situations that can benefit us the most.

Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. Used with permission.

But what can we do if we do not have someone in our family that shares our passion? There are several different options available.

  • Society Meetings & Conferences

Folks who attend these meetings and conferences are just as interested in genealogy and are probably willing to listen to the story about great-aunt Elsie, of which your children and cousins have grown tired.

  • Social Networking Websites

There are many popular websites that allow you to “friend” or “follow” other people, from family, friends, coworkers, etc. to others who share similar interests (such as genealogy!).

  • Message Boards & Mailing Lists

Although these tools have been around for ages, they are still popular among genealogists and are a great place to ask brick wall questions.

  • Online Family Trees

Having your tree online makes it possible for cousins or others researching your family to get in touch with you.

  • Blogs

Blogging also lends itself to reaching a broader audience than a genealogical publication, and, because it is online and searchable, you stand a good chance of attracting others.

Remember, it may take multiple strategies to find the answer to your research question. Sometimes you just need to step away from a research problem. With our Skill-Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls course we will give you the tools and techniques needed to break down that brick wall.

Alberta Genealogical Society Conference

The Alberta Genealogical Society Conference, “Images Through Time”, will be taking place April 26th – 28th and we here at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies are excited. Why are we excited? Because we will be attending! 

We enjoy meeting with our current students, those who have graduated, and new students. No matter where you are at in your genealogy education, we have courses for you. I’m sure you have questions for us so please stop by our booth and visit with Louise St Denis she will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.  

Plus, while there don’t forget to register for your FREE complimentary course just for attending the conference. 

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