Editor’s Note, September 2012: Hot on the Trail

By Allison Dolan Premium

The dog days of summer arrived early here in Ohio—thermostats were already topping 100 degrees by late June. My husband has another name for these sweltering summer temperatures. “It’s stupid hot,” he says.

Although genealogy didn’t inspire this moniker (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what did), your family 
tree research may be feeling the effects of the summer heat. When it’s too hot to tromp around ancestral cemeteries and 
your local library’s jam-packed with people enjoying the air conditioning, how do you keep your research progress 
from evaporating?
One way I put the sizzle back in my own ancestor search is by boosting my genealogy smarts. After all, a little extra
 know-how can go a long way: One newly discovered resource or research strategy can be just the trick to break
 through a brick wall.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas to make your family history savvy rise along with the mercury:
Read a good how-to book. To avoid the library throngs, pick from the helpful titles at shopfamilytree.com 
Granted, perusing the Family Tree Problem Solver poolside might get you weird looks—opt for the e-book version for
trips to the swim club.
Go to class virtually. Our own Family Tree University offers dozens of online courses
 and webinars where you can learn from the air-conditioned comfort of your couch—including classes to ignite your search for ancestors and in various US states.
Explore a new genealogy website or topic. As always, this issue of Family Tree Magazine is packed with tools and techniques covering the gamut of genealogy, from our 13th annual 101 Best Websites guide to 10 tips for using deeds. So grab an ice-cold beverage, park yourself in a cool spot and get hot on the trail of your ancestors.

Allison’s top three tips from this issue

  • Use deeds to distinguish your ancestor from others with the same name who lived in the same community.


  • Jog elder relatives’ memories about your clan—including genealogical details—by touring former family residences.


  • Avoid stapling, gluing or hole-punching your genealogical materials—you might accidentally obscure information.