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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Strategy for Genealogical Research
The Research Plan
The ability to organize one’s thoughts and efforts for an effective and efficient attack on each genealogical problem is crucial. Many beginners flounder at this point. The best advice is to start with a pedigree analysis, and then write down each goal that you want to achieve. Ideas can be collected on the Research Ideas Log for each person. Then sit down and analyze one problem at a time, working out a strategy for achieving the desired result. In general one would consult family and home sources first, then proceed with the original sources. For 20th century research one correlates family information with civil registration. As one moves back into the 19th century then family sources become scarcer, but the censuses are available. The researcher is strongly urged to find and make the most of all certificates and all censuses.
The addresses from the certificates will give locations for census searches. Your family may not be at the exact address, but probably nearby, in the next street in a city or the next parish in the rural areas. By reading the whole area, not just the street referred to, one will be able to pick up other members of the family as well. It is important to remember that in the days before social service networks the extended family was your support in times of need, thus families tended to stay close together. From the censuses you can obtain ages (and thus rough birth years) and birth places, which enable you to search for more certificates. Examination of the age of the oldest child in a family will narrow down a marriage date, and the birthplace of the wife may indicate the place of marriage. The widowhood of a parent leads to finding a death certificate for the deceased spouse.
Overall Strategy for Genealogical Research
|This example shows dates applicable to England and Wales, but the principle is the same anywhere. The arrows show a backward progression in time aimed at discovering ancestors. Using a forward progression one can find family maturation, later marriages and deaths. It is always good policy to get all the certificates and all the censuses for each ancestor.|
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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- This page was last modified on 22 April 2014, at 22:46.
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