Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why Should Research Logs ALWAYS Be Used?

The answer to this question can be found in the online video presentation Research Logs by David Dilts, AG. This is one of a series of video presentation available free on the Research Classes Online page at FamilySearch.org

In this 21 minute presentation David Dilts, AG discusses why you should use a research log on a consistent basis, what information should be included in your log, and how to properly fill out a research log. A few of the important points David makes in his presentation are:
  • Research logs help in EVERY step of the research process
  • Research logs show negative evidence
  • Research logs save time
  • Research logs serve as a foundation on which future research can be built

There is a handout from the Family History Library on Research Logs that accompanies this presentation. If you enjoy this presentation then continue on to watch Research Logs, Part 2.

There is a whole series of free classes and video presentations available on the Research Classes Online page at FamilySearch.org.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NIGR Alumni Association

I wrote on Monday about the National Institute on Genealogical Research, or NIGR. Today I would like to share information on NIGR's Alumni Association. This organization is open to anyone who has attended or lectured at the National Institute on Genealogical Research. The group sponsors an annual dinner on the Friday night of the institute to honor those who have completed the program. They also raise money for two purposes:
  1. Funding the Richard S. Lackey Memorial Scholarship for a student to attend the institute.  The scholarship is awarded to an experienced researcher in either a paid or a volunteer position, in the service of the genealogical community.
  3. Contributing funds to the National Archives Trust Fund for the microfilming of genealogically-significant NARA records that would probably not otherwise be filmed. Once filmed, these records then become available to a much wider audience than those who can to come to Washington, D.C.
These are worthy projects that benefit the genealogical community. 

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Family Tree University Special Offer

    The following announcement was issued by Family Tree University:

    Special Offer Extended - Save $13 on Upcoming Courses!

    In honor of America's Independence Day, we're offering $13 off any FTU course - now extended through July 31. Use the coupon code 13COLONIES to get your discount!
    These courses start July 19:
    Finding Ancestors in the US Census: Online and Offline Research Strategies
    The census contains a wealth of information for US genealogists and is the cornerstone of a sound family history. In the census you can learn about families, education, wealth and even how long a marriage lasted or the number of children a woman bore. We'll discuss the early censuses from 1790 through 1840, and censuses that list all household members, from 1850 through 1930.
        Find out More>>>

    Tracing Immigrants: How to Research Your Family's American Arrivals
    Many people get interested in genealogy because they want to learn more about where their family came from--specifically, to find out which ancestors came over from the "old country" and when. This course will teach you how to identify an immigrant ancestor in your family tree. You'll learn how to pinpoint when and where he or she left and locate records documenting his or her immigration. Each of the four lessons includes an assignment designed to help you progress in your research of an immigrant ancestor.
        Find out More>>>

    Digital Photography Essentials: Techniques to Capture and Preserve Your Family History
    Photography is an essential tool for genealogists--not only for capturing family memories now, but also for preserving old documents and heirlooms. This course will help you master the basics of using digital cameras, photo editing software and scanners in your genealogy work.
        Find out More>>>

    Land Records 101: Using Deeds, Plats, Patents and More
    When you're trying to pinpoint ancestral residences, determine wealth or even trace descendants, land records can often provide answers--once you get past unfamiliar terminology and survey systems. In this course, you will master the basics of US land records research, including what documents to look for (online and offline), how to "plat" land and how to make the most of these often-overlooked resources.
        Find out More>>>

    Creating a Family History Book: Start-to-Finish Guidance for Assembling and Printing a Family Keepsake
    You've worked hard to uncover your family's history, and you want to preserve your research in a form that will stand the test of time--a keepsake book that can be shared today as well as archived for future generations. If you've ever thought such a project was too overwhelming or that you had to complete you research before you could create your book, this simply isn't true. Family history books come in all flavors, from collections of family recipes to compilations of oral history interviews. This course will show you how to make the process manageable and enjoyable from start to finish.
        Find out More>>>

    Find Your German Roots: From America to Deutschland
    Genealogists with German roots have a wealth of resources and a wide support network to help them discover their past. Germans have been meticulous record-keepers throughout their long history -- beginning with the mostly tiny, independent German states that sprung up during the Middle Ages and continuing beyond their 1871 unification. To successfully trace your ancestors in the old country, you'll need an understanding of Germany's history, its records and your family's path to America.
        Find out More>>>

    Research in Foreign Records: How to Find Your Family Across the Pond
    After you've identified the immigrant in your family tree and pinpointed the place your family came from, you're ready to begin exploring resources in the country. The third course in our immigrant research series walks you through the steps to successfully cross the pond and find your family in foreign records.
        Find out More>>>

    Google Earth for Genealogists: Plot Your Ancestors' Lives
    Most of us never get to travel to all the places our ancestors lived, but you can follow in their footsteps--virtually. Google Earth, a free software program, lets you experience faraway locations from the comfort of your own home. In Google Earth for Genealogists, you'll tap into the program's robust features to bring depth and a new perspective to your family history research.
        Find out More>>>

    Advanced Google for Genealogists: Techniques to Take Your Researchs to the Next Level
    Attention, Google users: Want to get more out of the most popular search engine? In this course, you'll learn how to tame Google's seemingly endless search results to find the answers you need--including solutions to common genealogy search dilemmas, such as looking for names that double as familiar words (Ward, Shore) and bypassing results for famous people with your ancestral surname. You'll also take advantage of Google features and services that will help you research more efficiently.
        Find out More>>>

    Published Genealogies: How to Use Others' Research to Grow Your Family Tree
    People have been doing genealogy for centuries--and their efforts have produced a plethora of "pre-researched" family trees you can use as a springboard for your own research. From articles in genealogical society journals to entire books outlining specific lineages to searchable online databases of user-contributed family trees, this course shows you how and where to look for the work others have already done, allowing you to save time and add branches to your family tree.
        Find out More>>>

    National Institute on Genealogical Education

    Today is the first day of the National Institute on Genealogical Education for the class of 2010. I have several friends attending the institute and I thought it would be a good time to introduce others to the program. NIGR, as it is abbreviated, is one of the three major genealogical institutes in the U.S. (along with the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy). It is held each July at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and is a week long program focusing on using federal records for genealogy.

    One of the advantages of holding the institute at the National Archives is the hands-on experience with the records. The National Archives holds records commonly used for genealogy such as census, military, immigration, naturalization, and federal land, as well as records from federal agencies. NIGR participants are able to look at microfilm and original records while they are on site. When they learn about a new record group that may be relevant to their research they can have the records pulled and view them the same day.

    I attended NIGR in 2008 and thought it was a wonderful program. I am fortunate to live close to Washington, D.C. and use the knowledge I gained in my research at the National Archives on a regular basis.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Video on NGS American Genealogy Home Study Course

    There is a new video available about the NGS Home Study course. This course on American Genealogy is sponsored by the National Genealogy Society.  The course can be completed from home and at your own pace. It is a good comprehensive course on genealogical records and methods that can be taken by those new to genealogy, or those with experience who want to be sure they have a firm foundation in research skills.

    The course is available on three CDs that can be purchased together or separately. You can choose the graded option or the non-graded option. The syllabus for the course details each of the sixteen lessons.  The lessons cover each of the major genealogical record types, source citation, and evidence analysis.

    For each lesson there is reading material, a self-grading quiz, and a practical assignment to complete. These practical assignments give students experience in working with records and repositories. This is one of the elements that makes this course such a valuable educational opportunity.

    The highlights of the Home Study Course include:
    • Assignments that provide experience with research on the Internet and in libraries, courthouses, and archives
    • Instruction on using a variety of genealogical records
    • Experience analyzing documents and citing sources
    • Self-correcting exams for each lesson
    • An online mail list where you can ask questions and receive help

    I have completed the NGS Home Study course and found it to be a very useful course for learning genealogical records, and I would recommend this course to others. This course also  fulfills the prerequisite for attending advanced courses at genealogical institutes such as IGHR.