Week 1 of Family History Month has come to a close - and we hope you were able to follow along with our daily expert tips in our Facebook and Twitter communities! We have enjoyed sharing some of our best suggestions, provided by the experts at Findmypast. See them all here, one more time, and get ready for week 2!

 

  1. Walk away from your research. Sometimes the best thing we can do in our research is to stop researching - just for a short time. Give yourself some space from the question you are seeking to answer and allow yourself the time to gain a new perspective - and new ideas.
  2. Understand the differences in political boundaries. For example, county lines and Civil Registration Districts in England and Ireland are two different things - so the records you are looking for just may be in a neighboring county.
  3. Your public library has far more than books - they have access! Check with your local system to see what you might be able to access through the facility; there are a great many databases and collections of national or global scope that could help move your research forward.
  4. So many maps : use them all! More than just historical maps, you should consider political maps, recreational, topographical, highway, railroad... and many other types of maps to gain information about the area in which your ancestor resided.
  5. Learn about - and use - alternative resources; they can be treasures. One great example of this is JSTOR, and you can see it put to use by a genealogist in this series from our very own D. Joshua Taylor, to understand how these types of collections can be used to your advantage.
  6. A not-so-secret awesome resource: the FamilySearch wiki! It should be one of the first places you turn to for more information, and it's added to daily by volunteers around the world, so check back often.
  7. Compile all the data from the U.S. Census, not just names and places. There is so much information available to us in those columns - we need to be sure we don't overlook any of it.
  8. Create, use, and maintain a research plan that incorporates your strategy. A research plan can really give you focused and well spent time on your family history. Start at the beginning: what is your goal and how can you reach it?

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Have you had success with any of these tactics? Share your story with us for a chance to be featured on the Findmypast blog: testimonials@findmypast.com, we'd love to hear about it.

Remember to follow us on social media for more great suggestions - all month long. Happy Family History Month!