Friday, March 04, 2016

Women's History Month 2016: Tip #3 Survey

Lots of great info at LA Public Library for genealogists. (c) 2016 Gena Philibert-Ortega
You may be thinking, "survey?" What does she want me to survey?"

Many years ago when I was in grad school we would have a research topic for a paper and we would survey what sources were available. So if I was researching women's lives during the Civil War, I might go and seek out databases, periodical articles, and books (autobiographical, historical). I basically would see what was available that I could use to learn more about the topic so I could write my paper.

That's exactly what we should be doing in genealogical research. This is extremely important once we hit the proverbial brick wall. We need to know what records are available beyond the usual suspects (census, vital records, etc).

So where should you be searching for records/databases/documents/histories?

  • Libraries (public, private, state, academic, genealogical)
  • Archives (regional, private, state, academic)
  • Museums (history, topical, religious)
  • Government entities (courthouse, recorder)
  • Websites (free and fee based, digitized book websites. Look for records/databases for the place/s your ancestor lived)

Have you identified all of the repositories in the place/s your ancestor lived? Start today. Create a document or a research guide and start looking for the websites for all of these different repositories. Ask yourself what records they have for the dates your ancestor lived.

Survey what is available out there. Your survey will change as you research. There's always new discoveries to be made based on the feedback of others or from what you learn as you research.

Start today and survey what is available for the place/s your ancestor lived.

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