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Research Facilities in the Great Lakes States
Column published: 17 May 2007
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

With summer approaching I would like to encourage our Canadian friends to come to the Great Lakes states to research some of their ancestors from the United States. We are truly blessed in the Great Lakes States with some wonderful research facilities. However, before you make your trip to one of these there are some things that we need to do first.

There are several things to consider doing before you leave home.

Do your home work.
  • Review materials in your possession
  • Extract data (as it is, not as you think it should be)
Analyze material in your possession.
  • Determine what you know
  • Have you been open-minded or swayed by preconceived conceptions?
  • Record how you know your information
  • Have you given it the logic test? Is there any reason why information cannot be true?
  • Recheck notes. It takes longer in the beginning but saves time in the end.
Determine the type of information you need to locate at research facility.
  • Make a list of what you want to accomplish
  • Make a list of geographic areas you need to check for information
Things you need to do at the research facility.
  • Research area where your ancestors lived
  • Learn about collections in each facility
  • Take time to read Foreword and Introduction to research materials
Things you need to do when you get back home. As you can see, it is a never ending cycle.
  • Review materials in your possession.
  • Extract data (as it is, not as you think it should be.)
Good research techniques are a never ending process. We repeat and refine our work continually.

I would encourage you to think about visiting some of the following facilities if you have ancestors from those areas. Be sure and check their web pages. Some of them have some wonderful on-line databases.

TEACH: History and Culture
Research Facilities in the Great Lakes States:

Illinois Indiana Michigan Ohio Wisconsin "An interest in genealogy begins as a mild fever and ends up as an incurable disease." Lucy Mary Kellogg

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges, biography & genealogy lectures; email:

Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930

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