Category Archives: Best Practices

Podcast, Episode 8: Tell Me the Truth – Genealogy for Biographers

Biography can be really dry and boring stuff, a string of facts without seasoning or flavor. In this episode, I’ll teach you how to use genealogical research of your subject to add spice and life to a biographical book or project. I’ll tell you how I’m using it to write a book of my own, […]

Podcast, Episode 7: I Wish You Were Dead

I hate Valentine’s Day, so this holiday episode is all about death records. They rock my world. The focus is on Social Security and county-level death records, featuring my favorite: DEATH CERTIFICATES! Learn about the 6 W’s of assessing the purpose and value of a record before you ever use it, and then we’ll talk […]

Podcast, Episode 6: Don’t Be a Jeffrey

Genealogy is populated with lots of groovy people, and just enough Jeffreys doing things the wrong way to thoroughly annoy the rest of us. Don’t be a Jeffrey, be awesome! Follow the best practice and best evidence guidelines for Ancestry in this episode and you’ll go far, Cousin. Happy Black History Month to all. And […]

Podcast, Episode 5: Cage Match! Ancestry vs FamilySearch

“Cage Match! Ancestry vs FamilySearch” is about the pros and cons of using Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, the two main family tree sites used by the majority of researchers I know. Each has assets and drawbacks, but they’re best used together. And get a load of my fan hot spots! All kinds of folks are tuning […]

Podcast, Episode 4: The Glory of the Story

“The Glory of the Story” is about the fun of gathering family stories. Folklore is great for finding facts and hints to start a tree, but it’s equally wonderful for entertainment and for preserving the memory of family elders for all generations, current and future, to enjoy. If your family tells stories, this is for […]

Podcast, Episode 3: Folklore, or Just the Facts, Ma’am

“Folklore, or Just the Facts, Ma’am” is for EVERYBODY. If you’re doing research for yourself, or helping someone new start their own, this episode will help you to understand the whys and hows of using folklore-gathering skills to jumpstart your tree. I discuss a few examples of how folklore has helped me, and how asking […]

Folklore, Genealogy, and the Holiday Season

So many festive events, so little time. While it is VERY bad form to work on your laptop while sitting on the couch in the middle of a holiday meal or party, it is possible to add to your family tree during the joy and mirth surrounding the Christmas tree or the Hanukkah bush. In […]

How African Americans Use DNA Testing to Connect with Their Past

If you are European-American (white), your ancestors wrote the rules and kept the records. They were a part of the white power structure that allowed and supported slavery and Jim Crow. Your records are relatively easy to find. If you are descended of the African Diaspora, your family is in splinters, and your history is […]

Exciting Announcement: Podcast!

We are working on a new podcast! It will feature nitty-gritty information about best use of different types of resources in online research, best practices, and best evidence (aka genie hygiene). It will help you to go from paper to people, to gain an understanding of your ancestors’ lives and make them less abstract than […]

Digitally Gathering Family Lore

Over Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s, I’d like to encourage everyone to take advantage of family gatherings, or technology, or both, to talk with family elders and record valuable stories about your ancestors. Ways to do this: • Write a list of open-ended questions to start discussions, like “What do you remember best about life […]