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BEGINNING GENEALOGY

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African American Genealogy: More Ways to Document a Death

African American Genealogy: More Ways to Document a Death

In How to Document a Death, we shared a few of the most common resources for learning more about your ancestor’s death. The death event generated many different ways to learn more about a person. Even if a person is not present in a record where they were mentioned consecutively in the past, that can become a clue to the possible date of death. You will learn the most by making it a point of including a few more record types in your search.

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African American Genealogy: How to Document a Death

African American Genealogy: How to Document a Death

One of the most common events that beginning researchers attempt to document is an ancestor’s death. Most become familiar right away with death certificates, but when there are challenges finding or accessing a death certificate, it is helpful to know about additional records. It is a good practice to search these additional records in case there are errors or incomplete information on the death certificate. 

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Sample the Low Hanging Fruit First

Sample the Low Hanging Fruit First

In Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned and Relying on One Source Type, we discussed the pitfalls that family historians can unknowingly fall into.  Another very common mistake is rushing back too quickly in an imagined race to find direct ancestors.  This more often that not creates research challenges. Below we share better principles to follow in discovering ancestors.

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Family History Research: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned

Family History Research: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned

Family history research is one of the most rewarding adventures that you can experience. What makes it most rewarding is how it brings family members and communities closer as discoveries are made. There are many ways to have success in the process of finding, recording, and sharing what you learn, but there are also common mistakes that researchers share. Whether you have just begun or if you have been on your genealogy journey for a while, follow the wisdom below to avoid pitfalls along the way.

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Family History in Photographs

Family History in Photographs

As we embark on our journey in family history, we sometimes neglect the resources right within our reach. We spend time online searching for records that may already be in the homes of our extended family. Before you set out to look for resources to document your ancestor, you need to exhaust the resources found at home or in the possession of family members. This is a first in a series of posts on resources for family history in your home.

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Researching Communities of the Formerly Enslaved

Researching Communities of the Formerly Enslaved

You can discern a lot about the life of your ancestor from the descendants of those formerly enslaved that lived in communities that they established. If you are not fortunate enough to know of living descendants or surviving communities with which to start, search the following resources that mention the locality where your ancestor lived and names of people that lived in those areas.

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Sold on the Courthouse Steps

Sold on the Courthouse Steps

An auction block at a commercial slave market is probably the most common visual that comes to mind when you think of people being separated from families during enslavement. You may be familiar with the sale of enslaved people through private parties, but numerous people were also sold through local courts with the courthouse as their backdrop. How would you find documentation of such cases, and what are examples of situations that would have brought about this end result? One quick way to find clues would be through historical newspapers.

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Finding and Telling the African American Family Story: Beginning the Genealogy Journey

Finding and Telling the African American Family Story: Beginning the Genealogy Journey

By Angela Y. Walton Raji
Many people are inspired by the recent programs on television reflecting people who have a chance to learn their family history. Yet, there is a feeling among many people that the black family can’t be easily researched. But the real truth is that it can be done, and one can go back with the right methods, over 150 years in their family history! And with careful strategy, even further back in time.

Most importantly it should be remembered that everyone leaves a record behind them. There is a paper trail to follow on most individuals, even those who were once enslaved. Unless someone has totally lived “off the grid” with no contact with anyone, then there is a record that will provide clues to the past. The key is to find the right documents to get started, and then connect the dots taking you further back in time.

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Winning Gold When Starting Genealogy

Winning Gold When Starting Genealogy

Millions begin their online genealogy searches hoping to strike family history gold quickly and easily. The online genealogy environment has almost ensured this. On the other hand, one quickly learns that they definitely can’t guarantee lasting results without avoiding common pitfalls.

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Death Certificates Make Genealogy Come to Life

Death Certificates Make Genealogy Come to Life

In “Where a Death Certificate Can Lead,” we showed how you can use the census and city directories to learn more about the spouse and children of a deceased ancestor. We were able to identify the children of Joseph Barnett from census records, and we used a city directory to locate his daughter, Janie, and her husband. Hopefully, you also submitted the records you were able to find using the death certificate. We will now discuss other details on a death certificate that could make your genealogy come to life.

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