Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Women's History Month 2016: Tip #15 Create A Research Guide

Woman khunaspix/Courtesy

A Research Guide? What's that?

I want you to think about your research project. Next, think about what you would need to have at your fingertips to be an expert in researching that locality, time period, or subject (religion, occupation, organization, etc.).

If you were researching a place you would want information like:

  • Libraries that serve that area and their relevant collections (state, public, private, academic)
  • Archives that serve that area and their relevant collections (NARA, state, local, academic, other)
  • Museums
  • Government offices (courthouses, recorder's office)
  • Historical sites 

Now, what records are available for what dates? Such as:

  • When did Birth, Marriage, and Death records begin?
  • What years do Probate records cover?
  • What year did Divorce records begin?
  • When was the County founded? What about the City you're researching?

What other significant collections exist for the area you're researching? These might be online in places like:

What else might be of help? A map of the area at the time your ancestor lived there would be great. Maybe even a bibliography of local history books.

By gathering all this information and having it in one place, whether a paper notebook, Microsoft Word file, or Evernote notebook, you will become an expert in researching the place your ancestor lived and do better research.

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