365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: March 2006

365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: March 2006

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


1. During Women’s History Month, visit the History Channel <www.historychannel.com/exhibits/womenhist>, the National Women’s History Project <www.nwhp.org> and other Web sites to learn about your female ancestors.

2. Print ancestor charts and family group sheets for the women in your family tree. Make plans for finding missing facts.

3. List all your female ancestors’ maiden names, then search for them in online genealogy databases.

4. What’ll happen to your research when you’re gone? Arrange to leave it to a relative or a historical society. See <www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=4785> for genealogical estate planning advice.

5. Do some fantasy book shopping on sites such as Willow Bend Books <www.willowbendbooks.com> and <Amazon.com> <www.amazon.com>. List tomes you want on our downloadable Book Wish List.

6. Browse the USGen Web Project <www.usgenweb.org> sites for your ancestral counties. You may find message boards, transcribed records, family trees, historical information and more.

7. Use the photo-identification tips in the August 2004 Family Tree Magazine to investigate a mystery photo of a woman in your family.

8. Look into software that helps you write your family history, such as Personal Historian <www.personalhistorian.com>. Or open a Word document and type away.

9. Look up your ancestral addresses in city directories, similar to telephone books. You’ll find directories for local and major cities at libraries; some are in Ancestry.com’s US Records Collection.

10. Read profiles about famous and courageous women in Women Who Dare Knowledge Cards, from the Library of Congress Shop (888-682-3557, <www.loc.gov/shop>).

11. Enhance a female ancestor’s timeline with events that changed her life. Suggestions: the Declaration of Sentiments (1848), formation of the Women’s Trade Union League (1903) and 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage (1920).

12. Wish you could visit your ancestral homeland? Take a genealogy cruise? It’s OK to dream-surf over to your target country’s tourism Web site or <www.genealogycruise2006.com>.

13. Visit <www.hamrick.com/names> to generate maps showing where Americans with your surnames lived in 1850, 1880, 1920 and 1990.

14. Pick an ancestral state and explore its state archives or library Web site. Search for family and county histories in the online catalog, and look for research tips, records databases and indexes.

15. Seek historical photos and postcards from your ancestors’ time. Check auction sites such as eBay, photo-reunion sites such as Dead Fred <www.deadfred.com> and Ancient Faces <www.ancientfaces.com>, flea markets and antiques stores.

16. Go back to your online databases and search them-again.

17. Your Irish eyes are smiling today. Pay homage to Emerald Isle ancestors at Web sites such as Irish Ancestors <www.ireland.com/ancestor> and Eneclann <eneclann.ie>.

18. Consider entering a family story or genealogy how-to article in the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors’ <www.rootsweb.com/~cgc> annual contest.

19. The windows can wait-spring-clean your genealogy research. Sort that pile of papers, file e-mails and delete extraneous Web bookmarks.

20. Home sources can be fonts of female-ancestor information. Look in your own attic and offer to help relatives search theirs for diaries, wedding-guest registers, baby books, family Bibles, insurance papers, letters and the like.

21. Download our free Research Check-list of Books, and list titles that might mention ancestors. Put the form in your research binder so it’s handy next time you’re at the library.

22. Get a free trial version of GenSmarts software from <www.gensmarts.com/download.asp>. This utility works with your genealogy software to analyze your data and suggest next research steps.

23. Visit your public or university library Web site and search its catalog for books and microfilm you need. Print information for promising resources.

24. Grab your research binder and hit the library to find those resources and tackle items on your to-do list.

25. Revisit online message boards for responses to your queries.

26. Choose your favorite female ancestor and jot down some stories about her.

27. A relative’s diary may be listed in the bibliography of American Diaries, by Laura Arksey, Nancy Pries, Marcia Reed and William Matthews (Gale Group, out of print). Check the FHL online catalog and historical societies, too.

28. Page through cookbooks you’ve inherited and ask your relatives to do the same-you might discover handwritten recipes and notes from Great-grandmother or Aunt Esther.

29. See if any titles you need are on the Books We Own <www.rootsweb.com/~bwo> list. If so, e-mail the book’s owner to request a quick lookup. Consider opening your library to other researchers through this site, too.

30. Search for notices of engagements, weddings, births and women’s club activities in historical newspaper society pages. They’re on microfilm at many libraries; see the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine, for sources.

31. Catalog your family heirlooms using our free, downloadable Artifacts and Heirlooms form.

 From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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