365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: September 2006

365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: September 2006

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


1. Become a school-records genius using the resources in the October 2005 Family Tree Magazine.

2. Bid on old yearbooks at eBay, or look for digitized pages at Web sites such as Dead Fred and Family Tree Connection <www.familytreeconnection.com>.

3. Your progenitors may have been on school, community or even professional sports teams. Read my article on finding athletic ancestors at <www.lisaalzo.com>.

4. What did your ancestor do for a living? This Labor Day, read up on his or her occupation and check home sources for clues to an employer Read the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine for more on occupational records.

5. Buy business card templates at an office-supply store and print your own genealogy cards with your name, e-mail address, and the surnames and locations you research. Hand them out to fellow researchers at every opportunity.

6. Angel Island was the West Coast’s equivalent of Ellis Island, processing hundreds of thousands of immigrants, mostly from Asian countries. Learn about its history and records at <www.angelisland.org/immigr02.html> and <www.aiisf.org>.

7. Who knew there was a Google Commemoration Day? Google for family names and places using the Advanced Search options.

8. In 1883, Northern Pacific Railroad workers pounded in the last stake of the coast-to-coast line. Get help tracking down rail-worker relatives from the Railroad Retirement Board <www.rrb.gov>.

9. California, which became the 31st US state today in 1850, is the subject of a vast digital photo and document archive at <www.oac.cdlib.org>. Use an Internet search engine to find similar memory projects for your ancestral states.

10. Remember Grandma and Grandpa on National Grandparents Day by writing down favorite memories about them.

11. Now that the kids or grandkids are back in school, reclaim your favorite table at the library for an intensive research session.

12. Page through church membership books and newsletters at a library or historical society.

13. Turn a family photo into a valid postage stamp at <photo.stamps.com>. Use it for all your correspondence.

14. Pick up tips from fellow researchers i at Ancestors Tips and Tricks <www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors>.

15. Have you been putting off a particular family history task? Whether it’s writing to a newfound relative or filing that stack of documents, today’s the day to tackle it.

16. Search the attic for overlooked home sources such as autograph albums, address books and checkbook registers.

17. Think Oktoberfest! The traditional fall harvest celebration typically happens in mid-to late September, so don your lederhosen and find a fest to celebrate your German roots. (See the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine for our suggestions). Consider joining a German genealogical society such as Palatines to America <www.palam.org>.

18. Clean out your e-mail inbox—some programs let you export an archive file of messages you want to hold on to. You also can copy and paste messages into a word processing document.

19. Create a permanent record for future generations: Take some snapshots of yourself, your house and your family.

20. A banking crisis today in 1873 closed the New York Stock Exchange for the first time. Research financial records such as those of the New York Emigrant Savings Bank <www.genexchange.org/esb> and the Freedman’s Bank. (You can search a CD of Freedman’s Bank records free at FHCs, or order it for $6.50 from 800-537-5971 or FamilySearch—click Order/Download Products, then Software & Databases, then Miscellaneous Databases.)

21. Check your newspaper or <www.pbs.org> for the public television shows “History Detectives” and “AntiquesRoadshow”—then catch an episode.

22. The autumn weather’s nice, so think outdoor genealogy: cemetery visits, walking tours of ancestral hometowns and similar excursions.

23. If your ancestors departed from ports Lu such as Antwerp, Belgium, or Bremen and Hamburg, Germany, you may be able to find their departure records.

24. Dust off those audiotapes of oral history interviews or your now-grown toddler singing nursery rhymes. Transcribe them or convert them to digital files with a utility such as Digital Media Converter <www.deskshare.com/dmc.aspx>.

25. Continue your monthly genealogy maintenance: File papers, revisit message boards and repeat online database searches. Remember to check for spelling variations of your ancestors’ names.

26. Select someone in your family tree you haven’t researched. See how much you can find on him or her using just the Internet — you may be surprised.

27. Thought about writing an article on your genealogical search? It’s a great way to find out who else is climbing your tree. Order Be a Genealogy Journalist by Carole Osborne Cole (Heritage Creations, 866-783-7899, <www. heritageaeations.com>).

28. Share a research problem with a genealogy buddy—sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can see a solution invisible to you.

29. Time to get your flu shot-and investigate how the influenza pandemic of 1918 affected your ancestors. See <www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/influenza> and search historical newspapers for lists of those who died.

30. Evaluate your progress. Still stumped on a family line? See the 2006 Genealogy Guidebook, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine,for a dose of brick-wall busting advice.

From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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