State-Based Ancestry: Episode 103

By Family Tree Editors

In this December podcast, we explore state-based genealogy research and the available tools and techniques for discovering our U.S. ancestors.

Ep. 103: December 2016

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In this episode:


News from the Blogosphere with Diane Haddad

Diane gets us up to speed on the latest news from the blogosphere. Read her blog post here: Are You Missing the Best Genealogy Websites for Finding U.S. Ancestors?


101 Best Websites

Topic: Cool geography websites for US research, with Dave Fryxell


Family Tree University Crash Course

Tips for US research from recent webinars, with Vanessa Wieland.

Know Your State History: Fun fact: A lot of us tend to think that American settlements start in the East, with Jamestown and the 13 Colonies, but before that, in 1598, the Spanish were lead into New Mexico. While there might not be a lot of genealogy-based documentation for that particular event, it does impact the heritage of people in the Southwest. It’s always good to learn the history of each state to get a sense of what events could have an impact, especially when those events might generate records and attract immigration.

Study the State’s Geography: Think about the geographical layout of your state and why that would attract people. 

  • Big cities tend to bring a large population, but if your ancestors were farmers or coal miners, or worked on the railroad, that would impact which states – and where in that state – they would have settled. 
  • Think about how geography affects – or encourages travel and migration – River routes, railroads, etc. – opportunities arising out of that 
  • Think about how your ancestor’s ethnicity might affect where they chose to settle.  
  • Check the records of surrounding/nearby states as well

Learn About the Records: Because each state has its own unique history and and laws, there are going to be unique challenges and collections of records generated. 

  • When you’re tracing your ancestors in a specific state, it pays to do some research beforehand into the collections available – learn the start dates for specific types of records
    • Did they conduct a state census? 
    • Most state records are at the county level – but that’s not always the case – where are the records held? Are they accessible online?
  • Learn about the state-level repositories, such as libraries and museums, both state and university, and their curators and archivists.
    • Cincinnati Public Library for Ohio
    • Kenton County Public Library for Kentucky
    • Missouri History Museum – Dennis Northcott 

The Publisher’s Desk with Allison Dolan

Allison talks about the new Family Tree Historical Maps Book.


Your Host: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa Louise Cooke

Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems and Genealogy: Family History Made Easy podcasts in iTunes and visit her website for great research ideas, podcast episodes and videos.

Have fun climbing your family tree!