The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

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

Keeping In Touch With The National Institute For Genealogical Studies

In the genealogy world we need to communicate with each other to keep abreast of the constantly evolving research methods and resources. The same is true within The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. As a student of the National Institute, there are various ways you can communicate with us and your fellow students. Here is how:

#1 By email to the National Institute

NOTE: When contacting us please include your FIRST & LAST NAME and the COURSE TITLE, including the COUNTRY the course applies to. It is also helpful if you include the module number and section title you are referring to.

i) admin@genealogicalstudies.com – for general questions;

ii) alert@genealogicalstudies.com – to advise us of broken links in your course materials and assignments–please be specific as to where problem is;

iii) exam@genealogicalstudies.com – questions pertaining to your course exam.

#2 By email to a fellow student

When you view a fellow student’s public assignment SUBMISSION/ANSWER and you would like to contact them about something in their posting, simply click on the envelope icon to the right of the student’s name. A new window will open where you can type your message. For privacy reasons, you will not see the recipient’s email address and they have the option to reply or not.

#3 Attend a Virtual Meeting

VIRTUAL MEETINGS ARE THE BEST PLACE TO COMMUNICATE with an instructor and fellow students. Anyone can participate! You do not have to be registered in the course to attend. When attending virtual meetings, please bring questions applicable to the topic being discussed.

Watch for our emails outlining upcoming virtual meetings dates and times. Or visit our website at www.genealogicalstudies.com, click on Information in the top menu bar, and then Virtual Learning Room for the full schedule.

#4 Follow the National Institute’s Blog

Go to http://blog.genealogicalstudies.com/ and scroll down. On the right hand side of the page you will see Subscribe to Blog via Email. In the text box, enter your email address and click on the Subscribe button. Once subscribed, you will receive an email each time we post an article. Each blog article includes a link to write a comment or share via social media. Look for these options at the end of each blog post.

#5 Follow us on Twitter

Once signed into your Twitter account, search for us on Twitter by our Twitter name @GeneaStudies. On our Twitter page, click on the Follow button to subscribe to our tweets. Not a member of Twitter? No problem, just go to Twitter www.twitter.com and join. Membership is free.

#6 Follow the National Institute on Facebook

To follow us on Facebook you must be a member. To join Facebook go to www.facebook.com and sign up. Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/geneastudies/ and click on the Like button on the top right of our page.

#7 Join a GenealogyWise group to communicate with your fellow students

Go to www.genealogywise.com/ and Sign Up. There are groups set up for each of the National Institute’s country streams; i.e. American, Australian, Canadian, English, German, Irish, and Scottish, as well as Methodology, Librarianship, Alumni, and First Timer FAQs.

#8 Follow GenealogyWise on Facebook

To follow us on Facebook you must be a member. To join Facebook go to www.facebook.com and sign up. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GenealogyWise and click on the Like button on the top right of our page.

#9 Consultation with an instructor ($)

If you want to have a one-on-one consultation with an instructor this can be arranged. Please email admin@genealogicalstudies.com to request an appointment. When emailing please provide some information as to what course and some background details you would like to discuss so we can recommend a consultation with an appropriate instructor. The consultation with an instructor is available for a modest fee.

 

Good luck with your studies and research!

Post-Mortem Photography

Photographing the Recently Deceased

Post-mortem photography, photographing the recently deceased, may seem like a rather macabre Victorian era practice. Post-mortem photographs were still being made, though less frequently, during the early years of the 20th century up through the present day.

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

Recognizing post-mortem photographs is not always easy. In most cases, the deceased are photographed lying in bed or propped up on a chair or sofa, appearing to be asleep. The poses of the deceased were usually orchestrated so that they appeared as natural and life-like as possible.

The dead were not usually photographed in a casket until the very late 1800s or early 1900s. Some memorial portraits featured an array of flowers surrounding the deceased. Memorial portraits are easy to date because they were generally made in the home immediately after passing.

With our Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects course you will learn about examining photographs and identifying important details.

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. 

 

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

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.

Marriage

Marriage Records 

The marriage certificate is the only civil record that actually records a union between two individuals, whereas other marriage records indicate that a marriage was “projected or planned.” So be cautious regarding which marriage document is being reviewed and understand the difference.

via Canva.com

Information you will always expect to find on a marriage certificate: 

  • the name of the bride and groom 
  • the date of the marriage  
  • location of the marriage (at least the county in which the marriage was filed) 
  • the individual who married the couple 
  • name of the clerk who recorded the marriage with the county 

The type of information recorded on a marriage document will change over time and will vary from county to county and state to state.  

The US Federal Census can also help with finding a marriage record. What kind of marriage information can the census provide? While the 1850 to 1870 census doesn’t record marital status, it does note if the person was married within the year. The 1900 through 1940 census will provide the marital status “married, single, widow, or divorced,” the “age at first marriage” (1930), or the “number of years of present marriage” (1900, 1910).

 

Record Keeping 

In our modern society (the 20th and 21st century), marriage records are typically kept at both the county in which the ceremony took place and the state bureau of records. There is a central gathering point in each state, typically known as the Bureau of Vital Records or Statistics (or something similar).  

For most states, marriage records began being kept at the time a county was formed at the county level. These early records are not kept by the state, unless they have been transferred to the state archives.  

With our United States: Vital Records  course you will learn more about obtaining marriage records and the information they hold in your genealogy research.  

Keeping In Touch With The National Institute For Genealogical Studies

In the genealogy world we need to communicate with each other to keep abreast of the constantly evolving research methods and resources. The same is true within The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. As a student of the National Institute, there are various ways you can communicate with us and your fellow students. Here is how:

#1 By email to the National Institute

NOTE: When contacting us please include your FIRST & LAST NAME and the COURSE TITLE, including the COUNTRY the course applies to. It is also helpful if you include the module number and section title you are referring to.

i) admin@genealogicalstudies.com – for general questions;

ii) alert@genealogicalstudies.com – to advise us of broken links in your course materials and assignments–please be specific as to where problem is;

iii) exam@genealogicalstudies.com – questions pertaining to your course exam.

#2 By email to a fellow student

When you view a fellow student’s public assignment SUBMISSION/ANSWER and you would like to contact them about something in their posting, simply click on the envelope icon to the right of the student’s name. A new window will open where you can type your message. For privacy reasons, you will not see the recipient’s email address and they have the option to reply or not.

#3 Attend a Virtual Meeting

VIRTUAL MEETINGS ARE THE BEST PLACE TO COMMUNICATE with an instructor and fellow students. Anyone can participate! You do not have to be registered in the course to attend. When attending virtual meetings, please bring questions applicable to the topic being discussed.

Watch for our emails outlining upcoming virtual meetings dates and times. Or visit our website at www.genealogicalstudies.com, click on Information in the top menu bar, and then Virtual Learning Room for the full schedule.

#4 Follow the National Institute’s Blog

Go to http://blog.genealogicalstudies.com/ and scroll down. On the right hand side of the page you will see Subscribe to Blog via Email. In the text box, enter your email address and click on the Subscribe button. Once subscribed, you will receive an email each time we post an article. Each blog article includes a link to write a comment or share via social media. Look for these options at the end of each blog post.

#5 Follow us on Twitter

Once signed into your Twitter account, search for us on Twitter by our Twitter name @GeneaStudies. On our Twitter page, click on the Follow button to subscribe to our tweets. Not a member of Twitter? No problem, just go to Twitter www.twitter.com and join. Membership is free.

#6 Follow the National Institute on Facebook

To follow us on Facebook you must be a member. To join Facebook go to www.facebook.com and sign up. Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/geneastudies/ and click on the Like button on the top right of our page.

#7 Join a GenealogyWise group to communicate with your fellow students

Go to www.genealogywise.com/ and Sign Up. There are groups set up for each of the National Institute’s country streams; i.e. American, Australian, Canadian, English, German, Irish, and Scottish, as well as Methodology, Librarianship, Alumni, and First Timer FAQs.

#8 Follow GenealogyWise on Facebook

To follow us on Facebook you must be a member. To join Facebook go to www.facebook.com and sign up. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GenealogyWise and click on the Like button on the top right of our page.

#9 Consultation with an instructor ($)

If you want to have a one-on-one consultation with an instructor this can be arranged. Please email admin@genealogicalstudies.com to request an appointment. When emailing please provide some information as to what course and some background details you would like to discuss so we can recommend a consultation with an appropriate instructor. The consultation with an instructor is available for a modest fee.

 

Good luck with your studies and research!

Friends, Associates and Neighbors

Your FAN Club 

FAN is an acronym that stands for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors. The “FAN Club,” coined by Elizabeth Shown Mills, represents a person’s network of people to whom they connect. You may also hear the term “cluster research,” which is essentially the same thing.

via Canva.com

The idea behind using the FAN principle or cluster research is to identify and research the people involved with your ancestors, as those other people may have left a trail or clues that your ancestor did not. For example, you could be looking for the maiden name (and perhaps the parents and/or siblings) of a female ancestor. Studying the people in her FAN Club, as well as those in her husband’s, may provide clues or may even reveal the answer.

Oftentimes, the FAN methodology is implemented when all resources have been exhausted and there is still no answer to our research question. Instead of throwing in the towel, we turn to the people around our ancestor and explore their lives.  

Keep in mind that studying an ancestor’s associates will add more work to your plate, but the benefits are usually well worth your time and energy. With our Skill-Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls course you will learn more about applying the FAN principle to your research.  

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