365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: July 2006

365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: July 2006

Make 2006 a breakthrough year for your family tree quest with our tip-a-day research calendar.


1. It’s Canada Day. Library and Archives Canada <www.collectionscanada.ca> is a great resource for tracing ancestors who lived in or immigrated to the United States’ northern neighbor.

2. Dear Diary: Today I plan to start a diary or journal so my family’s future genealogists will know more about my life.

3. Look into lineage societies (such as the Daughters of the American Revolution <www.dar.org>) that may have resources to help with your research. Check The Genealogists Address Book, 5th edition, by Elizabeth Petty Bentley (Genealogical Publishing Co.) and Cyndi’s List <www.cyndislist.com/soc-lineage.htm> to identify target groups.

4. Search for the Revolutionary War ancestors who made Independence Day possible. You’ll find tips in the August 2003 Family Tree Magazine.

5. Celebrate your place in America’s melting-pot society. For instance, pay tribute to your Czech roots by listening to a polka tune, or drink a cappuccino in honor of your Italian kin.

6. President George W Bush was born today in 1946. Read about his family ties—and learn how to explore your own presidential roots — in the December 2004 Family Tree Magazine.

7. Does your genealogy Web site need a home? Try <accounts.rootsweb.com> (click Freepages Accounts) or the links at <www.freewebspace.net>.

8. Actor Kevin Bacon’s tendency to pop up in nearly every Hollywood movie inspired die game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon <www. cs.virginia.edu/oracle>. Apply this tactic to your research: Try to connect yourself to relatives in as few links as possible.

9. What can DNA tell you about your family tree? Consider getting tested—but do your homework first: See the February 2005 Family Tree Magazineand Trace Your Roots With DNAby Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner (Rodale).

10. Hit the trail along with your pioneer ancestors: Log onto the Western States Historical Marriage Record Index <abish.byui.edu/specialcollections> and browse the Web sites of historical societies for states out West, such as Oregon’s <www. ohs. org>.

11. For World Population Day, hone your international research skills by perusing records from an ancestral country. The FHL’s foreign-word lists (click Guides on the home page) can help you decipher unfamiliar terms.

12. Confused? Look up old medical terms, historical occupations, genealogy abbreviations, census terms and more in the Genealogy Encyclopedia <www.genealogyencyclopedia.com>.

13. Burned courthouses throw up a major brick wall. Find out what exactly the fire destroyed and look for substitute resources—Marsha Hoffman Rising suggests alternatives in The Family Tree Problem Solver (Family Tree Books).

14. Browse some of the free databases of immigration, church, military and other records at Olive Tree Genealogy <www. olivetreegenealogy. com>.

15. Do something completely unrelated to genealogy today: Go for a walk, ride a bike or see a movie. Clearing your mind will give you a new perspective.

16. Organize your Favorites (or Book marks) in your Web browser.

17. Put on your detective hat, get out your magnifying glass and take a closer look at family documents and photographs for clues you may have missed.

18. Doing cemetery research this summer? Volunteer to photograph or transcribe inscriptions for the USGenWeb Tombstone Project <www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery>.

19. If you’re at a brick wall or you need resources from a distant repository, it may be time to hire a professional researcher. You can find one by following the 10 easy steps at <www.icapgen.org/programs/tensteps.htm>.

20. Revisit the message boards where you’ve posted queries, and research online databases.

21. Use the message boards, maps, links and more at WorldGenWeb <www.worldgenweb.org>.

22. Create your own Top 10 or Top 25 list of genealogy Web sites you visit most often. Create a separate Favorites folder for them in your Web browser, or list them in a word processing document with active hyperlinks for quicker access.

23. Think you have famous folks in your family? Take a gander at the celebrity family trees on Genealogy.com <www.genealogy.com/famousfolks> and consult Rhonda R. McClure’s guide to Finding Your Famous (&Infamous) Ancestors (Betterway Books).

24. Have fun with family history. Turn a photo into a jigsaw puzzle using a kit from a craft store, or order a ready-made puzzle from <www.jigsawpuzzle.com> or your local copy shop.

25. Work smarter and faster using computer keyboard shortcuts. Search the help menu for a list, or see the cheat sheet in the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine.

26. New York joined the Union today in 1788. Find a resource guide at <wwwrny.nysed.gov> (click Select a Subject, then Genealogy) and see <www.rootsweb.com/-nygenweb/places/names.htm> for new names of old towns.

27. Control e-mail inbox clutter: Sign up for a free Web-based e-mail account with Hotmail <www.hotmail.com>, Gmail <www.gmail.com> or another provider and use it for your genealogy correspondence.

28. Before you write for foreign records, check the FHL’s online letter-writing guides. From the Family Search home page, click Guides, then Letter-writing Guide.

29. Time for monthly maintenance: Back up your computer files and sort the documents on your desktop.

30. Say what? Learn what your ancestors were talking about in the Roots Dictionary of Genealogy and Archaic Terms <freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~randyj2222/gendict.html>.

31. Get your hands dirty in your ancestors’ land records. Begin with the overview at the Land Records Research Directory <www.land-records.com>.

From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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