Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Women's History Month 2015: What's For Dinner Genealogy Style

It's the three words I hear everyday, day in and day out. Doesn't matter if I'm not at home or if I'm sick. If I'm lucky, I hear it after lunch but I have heard it before breakfast.

No, I didn't make this. Sometimes the answer to what's for dinner is to go out.

What's for dinner?

Moms (and dads) know this phrase well. If I'm particularly tired of it, I like to say something like "I don't know, what are you making me?"

Dinner can be a lot like genealogy. Most likely you have a few standard dishes you eat often, maybe weekly. They are the old standbys that are easy to fix and may not cost a lot. At our house that includes spaghetti, enchilada casserole, tacos, pizza, and chef salad.

The genealogy resources you use are most likely a lot like those old favorite dinners. You reach for those same websites or documents with each ancestor you research. (Though I'm guessing that you may not have explored everything on your favorite website.) You know how to find those documents. You're familiar with those resources.

But, there are time that I can't look at another plate of spaghetti. I want something different. I'm bored with making the same thing week after week.

In genealogy, that boredom equates with not finding the information you need, the proverbial brick wall. This Women's History Month, I've tried to give you ideas for resources. Start your research by reminding yourself of other types of sources that get ignored with our focus on  websites and digitized records. There are three books that are musts for your genealogical education. If you haven't read these three books, do it now!

Szucs, Loretto D, and Sandra H. Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.

Meyerink, Kory L. Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1998.

Pfeiffer, Laura S. Hidden Sources: Family History in Unlikely Places. Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2000. 

These books will assist you in learning more about what sources are out there and what they can tell you. Every genealogist should own these books or have access to them. The Source, is available on the Ancestry Wiki.

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