Laying Children’s Ghosts to Rest:
Canada’s Home Children in the West
The Battle of Fort George
[War of 1812 at Niagara]
Photo Organizing Practices:
Daguerreotypes to Digital
Ten Years of
The Colony of Niagara 1780-90
Notes on the History of
the District of Niagara 1791 - 1793
Ignored but Not Forgotten,
Canada's English Immigrants
Polish Roots. Second Edition
Acid-free Buffered Boxes
Letter & Legal other sizes
The Surnames Handbook,
A Guide to Family Name Research in the 21st Century
Marjorie Too Afraid to Cry,
A Home Child Experience
[British Home Children]
You can learn a surprising amount about your ancestors by studying their portraits
News & How-To
Formerly branded as GlobalGazette.ca
Articles, press releases,and how-to information for everyone interested in genealogy and history
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Things To Do Before Your Research Trip
Shirley G. Hodges
Published: 24 February 2012
By Shirley Gage Hodges Biography & Archived Articles
As a response to messages that I received after my recent article on Planning a Research Trip I decided that I would do an article about some of the items we should review before going.
The goal of our trip, of course, is to find information that make our ancestors come alive for future generations. We don't want them to be just a name written down on a form and filed away. We learn to love and appreciate our ancestors when we discover information about their personalities and personal traits.
Before starting on our trip we need to think about the things that we might already have in our possession that would be rich in information about our ancestors. Get out your Grubbies and put on your thinking cap and discover what you might have tucked away in the attic, or in cardboard boxes stuffed under the bed.
Here are some of the things you might look for:
Once you have found these records and blown off the dust you might feel like you are stepping into the past.
- Diaries and journals. If you have any of these in your possession you will discover many of the intimate details about your ancestor's life. They should really be read carefully for important facts and clues.
- Fraternal Records. You may discover that your ancestor belonged to the Knights of Columbus, the Moose, the Elks or a Masonic Lodge. You might find some great information on those old certificates and forms.
- Letters and post cards. You will often find accountings of interesting experiences and unknown stories. Also if you have the envelop you can find the names, addresses and postmarks which can be valuable clues.
- Military records. You can learn what military engagements your ancestor may have participated in. Often you will find medical and personal information in these records.
- Newspaper clippings. Lots of personal information can be found in the newspapers. In addition to the obituaries, wedding announcements and other items be sure that you are reading the gossip columns. You can really learn some interesting and unusual facts about your ancestors in those.
- Occupational records. You might find pension records and employment histories. You might also find evidence of awards and information that will help you in compiling your ancestor's history.
- Photographs. If you have pictures that you can not identify make copies of them and take with you. If you meet up with a relative you might discover that they have a copy of the same picture and their copy has been identified.
- School records. You may find information about graduation, attendance and special interests.
After you have evaluated all of the items you have found take time to organize what you know. Make a time line for your ancestor so that you can see where the gaps are in the information that you have.
Now you can decide what you want to accomplish on your trip. Sometimes we have to return to an area more than once to accomplish everything that we would like to.
When you return home do not just store your new found information in your head or shove it in a box and put it in the closet. Preserve it for the future.
Until next time :)
Shirley Hodges firstname.lastname@example.org
To read back issues of Shirley Hodges' articles, visit her biography & archived Articles
Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930:
BOOK - Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930
By Shirley Gage Hodges
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton
Guide to the United States Census, 1790-1930 explains what the United States census records are, what information they contain and how to use each census. Each individual year of the Federal Census between 1790 and 1930 (census were compiled every 10 years) is explained in detail. This guide is designed to help the census novice and intermediate researcher come to grips with this valuable genealogical research tool. Experts will also find this guide useful.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Check out the resources at GlobalGenealogy.com:
History & Genealogy Books...
History and genealogy books, maps, CDs from a wide selection of publishers, including Global Heritage Press. Browse resources listed by country, location or topic.
Document & Artifact Preservation Products
Acid-free storage and display products to preserve and safely store your family heirloom documents and artifacts.
Printing & Binding Solutions
You've done the research, written the stories, gathered the photos and illustrations, and put them all together... Now let GlobalGenealogy.com produce a finished book you will be proud to call your own.
Family Tree Charts & Census Forms
Poster-size blank family tree charts, plus a variety of free blank letter-size charts and census forms
Women's Employment 1850-1950
The Female Line
Researching Female Ancestors
Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation
Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4 on 1 CD
Necessaries & Sufficiencies,
Planter Society in Londonderry,
Onslow & Truro Townships 1761-1780
The History of Acadia
Destination Canada, A Genealogical Guide to Immigration Records