Monday, April 21, 2008

7 Tips for using local history in genealogical research

If you’ve obtained some facts about an ancestor and have burning questions or you just want to bring their story more fully to life, consider these 7 tips for using local historical information to unlock the mysteries of your dearly departed.

  1. Make a timeline of the known events of your ancestor’s life, and write down the specific questions you have in order of importance.

  2. Get familiar with the area that your ancestor is from. Use a printable map to track his or her movement.

  3. Google the areas of interest. Try key words like, “history of Lewis County, Kentucky” or “Ohio valley during the Civil War.”

  4. As you research areas, take note of important dates and compare them to the events you know about your ancestor. Your goal is to fit your ancestor into his surroundings.

  5. Within the results of your Google search, pay close attention to the stories of influential people, like politicians. Ask yourself how their actions might have impacted your ancestor’s daily life.

  6. Check the local historical or genealogical area’s websites for information about other citizens of the town, clues to your questions might be found in their stories.

  7. Use the same key words you used in your Google search to find books about the subject matter. Local historical and genealogical websites are a great source for books pertaining to your specific needs.

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