The National Institute for Genealogical Studies


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

Your Family Photographs

Handling and Storing   

Older photographs are fragile and easily damaged. The best way to reduce damage is to not handle photographs at all. Since that is not always practical, gloves should be worn when they are handled. Gloves prevent transferring dirt and skin oils on the delicate images. When handling images, put on the gloves and hold the prints by their edges.  

If the photo is a cabinet card or a carte de visite, do not remove the photo from the cardstock on which they are mounted. Those vintage images were printed on very thin paper that will not survive removal from their cardstock backing.  

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


Photographs should be stored using archival safe products such as archival sleeves, envelopes, unbuffered tissue paper, and boxes that are available online from archival supply stores. Some examples of archival storage include:  

  • Store case-mounted photographs such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, or domed glass frames in their original cases/frames. Wrap them individually in unbuffered archival tissue paper and then place in an archival safe box.  
  • Store black-and-white prints, black-and-white negatives, color prints and negatives in their own individual sleeves. The sleeves can be stored together in the same archival box.  
  • Store negatives in polypropylene or polyester sleeves. 
  • Store original albums separately in their own archival boxes.   

Most archival safe storage boxes come in different sizes and their metal corners allow for stacking and prevent the corners and contents from being crushed. 

Photographs are an important part of telling a family history. Learning how to handle and care for those photos is just one of the topics taught in our Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects course.


Death Indexes Online

US Death Indexes 

There are many different death indexes online. Please note that most indexes do not include every year. Remember that a name in an index is not proof that this is the researcher’s person! Often the person you are seeking is not the first to have this name and won’t be the last! Never assume the indexed name is your person and stop your research at that point.  


Always be creative in finding various ways to search for what you might be seeking. Go to the FamilySearch website and choose Catalog from the Search drop-down menu. Another way to search is to conduct a Place search and then enter the name of the county and state.  

One other place to check for online death indexes is Google. Conduct a Google search on the phrase, free “death index.”  

Research Plan 

Go beyond the index. Creating a research plan for more documents is necessary. The first item on the research plan should be finding an obituary. Next, would be checking with the cemetery where the individual was interred. Personalize a research plan to your needs. If you do not have the exact date of death, then the research continues. With our United States: Vital Records course you will learn more about researching and locating a death index.  

Marketing and Sales Management

Sales Management 

Marketing goes hand in hand with sales, as it provides a way to get the word out about your services and products, and a way to attract prospective clients. In a small business, however, the owner is often the only salesperson, marketing director, and grunt, along with everything else!  


Many small businesses lack a sales strategy. Periodically, you should review your sales strategy. Here is a list of some sales activities: 

  • identify prospects 
  • prioritize leads   
  • make sales calls 
  • close sales   
  • determine the average dollar size per sale 

Sales management means keeping track of these activities and how well you have done. Just like a budget, you should be projecting these figures and comparing them to actual results, ideally on a monthly basis. If you are not meeting your targets, look for reasons. Maybe you are not getting enough face-to-face meetings with prospects and need to learn to follow through on more leads.  

The lifeblood of any business is sales and sales management which is why we offer our Business Skills: Business Administration course to help you evaluate your sales strategies.   

Using Research Logs

Research Logs 101  

Are you using a research log? The first step in reviewing the research you have completed to-date is to refer to your research log. Unfortunately, when many of us start our genealogy journey, keeping track of our findings is likely the last thing on our mind.   


Typically, a research log is created for each family group, but depending on how you prefer to work, you may want to create one for each person. A research log can help you to quickly see what sources you have already consulted that may answer the current question related to the person/family you are researching.  

Research logs are usually in a table format, allowing us to record specific pieces of information related to sources we have searched. You can use pre-printed forms/templets or create your own. At a minimum, a research log should contain the following categories: date, source, repository, objective and results.  

Remember, this log not only helps you track everything you have found but also what you did not find. In some cases, such as a search for online family trees, you may want to repeat a previously-performed search since new information is published online every day.  

While it may seem time-consuming, creating research logs is an important tool for your research.  Our course, Skill Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls will help, saving you precious time in the long run.   


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