Summer is coming! Anticipated vacations are being planned, and family reunions are in the works. Now is the perfect time to begin arrangements for capturing the memories and stories of older generations. Here are some suggestions for conducting a quality family history interview to preserve the stories of your loved ones.Preparing for a Family History InterviewSet a specific time, date, and place for the interview. Plan to spend about an hour to an hour and a half, with options to meet again. Cover the basics in a written questionnaire that can be mailed to the person ahead of time. This should include names and birth and marriage dates and places for themselves, their parents, and siblings, along with any death or burial information for those who have passed on. Also include addresses they remember, schools they attended, jobs they have held, military service, hobbies, and community or church involvement. Check out our article, 9 Tips for Interviewing Family Members, for …Read more
Hand-picked, tested and trained, our professional genealogist team knows how to find your story. We search the world for answers. Find the un-findable. And we’re experts at everything from tracking down rare international records to analyzing DNA test results. Based near the world’s largest family history library in downtown Salt Lake City, we also work with researchers and archives around the globe. Contact us today if you would like help discovering your ancestors!
Have an elusive ancestor that can't be found? We'll show you how using DNA to solve genealogy brick walls might be the answer!We’ve all had the experience of trying to research an ancestor that seems to just appear out of thin air. Despite our best efforts, we just can’t seem to find that elusive ancestor in the records they should be in, and we don’t know why. DNA is a powerful tool that can help us break through these brick walls and find our ancestors on the other side. It recently helped us find the answers one client had about their brick wall ancestor’s origins, and showed us that the brick wall had been created by the ancestor himself.Reasonably Exhaustive SearchWe were asked to identify the parents of Earnest Martz, whom records showed was born in Washington State around the turn of the century, and lived mostly in Illinois and Indiana. The search began with records from Illinois, where Earnest was married.The marriage record stated Earnest’s place of birth was …Read more
Irish genealogy "brick walls" can be daunting, but not impossible to overcome. One of our genealogists shares her advice on extending your Irish family history.The expression “can’t see the forest for the trees,” is used of someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole. As much as we want to be able to quickly climb straight up Irish trees, it is often impossible without leveraging what the rest of the forest has to tell us. This type of research is called “clustering.” Below are three examples gleaned from the lives of Timothy May (1) and his father (2) and grandfather (3) who bore the same name.Original Records Can Be WrongDon’t just go with the first record that you find. Look for examples of when an ancestor may have self-firmed their parentage. When Timothy May (1) was baptized as an infant in the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church of Douro, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada on 1 October 1862, the entry clearly stated Timothy was the …Read more
Documenting military service is a goal for many genealogical researchers. For those with Pennsylvania ancestry, many military records are just a click away on the ARIAS website run by the state’s official archives.What Is ARIAS?ARIAS is an acronym for the Archives Records Information Access System, a website created by the Pennsylvania State Archives to enhance free access to databases showing the service of thousands of the state’s residents in various military outfits, tied to service in conflicts ranging from the 1700s to the early 1900s.Earlier Wars’ Records More on State LevelBefore talking about the records on ARIAS, it’s a good idea to back up for a moment to talk about U.S. military service in general. For the early wars, the federal army was relatively tiny when compared to the militias organized on the state level.Even as late as the Civil War, many more fought as members of state-organized units rather than directly for the federal level. As a result, the rule of …Read more