Sunday, March 31, 2019

Women's History Month 2019: Until Next Time

Wow! 31 days. We took 30 of those days looking at directories that go beyond city directories to find mentions of women's lives.

So let's take this last day to talk tips for finding your female ancestors. I want to highlight some of the "best practices" that probably  became obvious as I added blog posts.

1. Always take time to search by location. This is something I harp on in presentations. I think it's because my research training was not just genealogy so my background included different types of research and resources. Research is more than plugging in a name/date/place. Use websites like WorldCat, ArchiveGrid, and digitized book websites and search by the place your ancestor lived.

2. Don't stop at the homepage search. For genealogy websites, they have so much more to offer than just that homepage search. Explore their card catalog, search by location, check out what databases exist in their collections. That's how you find the hidden gems.

3. Use digitized book websites. These are truly some of the most important websites for genealogy. But because they aren't "genealogy" websites or what they include is not clear they are easy to ignore. Search by place, search by name, just search and explore. Take some time to explore Google Books, Internet Archive, and Hathi Trust today.

4. Research isn't a race, it takes time. We've grown accustomed to the luxury of typing in a name/date/place and like a slot machine, getting a "hit" that adds to our genealogy wealth. But that's not real research. Research requires asking questions, finding what sources have that answer, and searching for them. It requires learning more about the time period and place. It requires curiosity and persistence. The reward is that you learn more about the story of your ancestor's life.

Thanks for taking the time this month to read my Women's History Month posts. You can read posts from previous years by clicking on the Women's History Month images to the right. 

I want to give a general shout-out to my friends, presentation audience, and others who gave me the inspiration for posts this month. Special thanks to Tami Osmer Mize of Conference Keeper who designed the promotional images. 

Good luck researching your female ancestors!

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