Writing Your Family History, by Mary Maki, FRGS member and Secretary. As genealogists we know that birth, marriage, and death dates are not enough. We want to learn about our ancestors. We want to tell their stories. We want to bring them to “life.” Writing helps us to do that. It helps us make sense of our research. It tells us what we are missing—names, dates, and especially citations. Most of us have our family trees online. It is possible that future generations may not be interested in online family trees, but if there is a well-written book about their… Continue Reading »
All databases at Ancestry.com are not created equal…that was one of the main take-aways from Elizabeth Ernst’s thought-provoking presentation at the April FRGS meeting. The pedigree and accuracy of the source data for the databases in Ancestry can vary widely, making it crucial for a researcher to examine the source information when deciding whether and how much to rely on the returns for any given search. Elizabeth presented tips on how to evaluate Ancestry’s databases and shared her opinion about which databases can be relied upon and which databases should be taken with “a grain of salt.” Elizabeth also discussed:… Continue Reading »
City Directories were the featured topic in a presentation by Trip Wiggins at the FRGS February meeting. City Directories can be wonderful sources of information for the family history researcher. Popular from the mid-19th century into the late 20th century, these directories were commercial publications intended to be purchased and used by businesses to help them find customers. The directories typically would contain information about most of the residents of a town or city, including household name, names of persons living in the house, occupation and employer. The directories also could include a history of the region, lists of churches… Continue Reading »
Seven FRGS members gathered at Salem Branch Library on 6 February to share stories and information on their Irish family history research. Attendees discussed the primary information that carried their research from the U.S. over to Ireland. The group began to identify websites that can be used to further their research. A list of the websites will be assembled and shared with group members. Each member will pick one of the websites, use it to further their research and then report back at the next meeting on 6 March.
The FRGS January 2017 monthly meeting featured an informative and enlightening presentation by Joe Rudzinski on the unique challenges involved in searching for your Eastern European ancestors. Mr. Rudzinski talked about the diverse languages a researcher deals with, the many different name spellings one encounters, and the often-drastic name changes that occurred when Eastern Europeans immigrated to America. He presented tips on the most productive websites and other resources to use in searching for Eastern European ancestors. He concluded with a discussion of the increasingly important role that social media, particularly Facebook, is playing in successful family history researching. Details… Continue Reading »
“Often researchers cause their own research problems by making assumptions.” So began Charles S. “Chuck” Mason, Jr., CG, in his presentation “Don’t Make These Mistakes” at the FRGS 4th Annual Fall Conference. Beginners certainly can fall into this trap, but the caution applies equally to family history researchers who have been at it for a while. Chuck presented a series of mistakes that can lead genealogists down the wrong road or cause them to overlook potentially valuable research areas. One of the most common mistakes made is looking for records that were never created, for example, looking for vital records… Continue Reading »
Shannon Combs-Bennett presented two DNA sessions: A Crash Course in Genetic Genealogy that covered DNA basics and what types of tests are available; and a lecture on what to do once you’ve had your DNA tested, including how to organize the results and tips on responding to or writing queries to new cousins.
FRGS First Vice President Julie Cabitto told attendees how FamilySearch is organized in terms of how it collects and publishes the vast amounts of genealogical data available on its website. She also shared valuable tips on using FamilySearch efficiently and effectively and talked about some of FamilySearch’s successful projects, e.g., the recently completed indexing of Freedmen’s Bureau records. Julie, also is the assistant director at the LDS Family History Center in Fredericksburg,
Library of Virginia Archivists Joanne Porter and Callie Lou Freed presented information about the library’s holdings of Chancery Cause records and how they might be helpful in conducting research on Virginia counties where records have been forever lost. They also gave information about how to access additional genealogical resources available at the Library of Virginia, including the Burned Jurisdiction Database, The Virginia Heritage Project, the Out of the Box Blog and others.