What Is Genealogy
Why Study Genealogy?
How Far Can You Go?
3rd Party Stories
Cite Your Sources
Published genealogies, which can be found in many libraries, may prove helpful for a description of the times, while others may actually contain information on your family members.
There are many indexes of printed genealogies, and you can use these to discover if the genealogy of the family which you are searching for, has been published in either periodical or book form. To use these indexes, you simply look up the family name to find any genealogies published on that name, including publication date, publisher name, and other details. When you find a reference to a published genealogy, you then need to look for that particular genealogy in the library where you found the reference in the index, or if they don't have it, contact other libraries to see whether they have it in their collections.
When you discover a copy of a genealogy of a family in which you are interested, and go on to discover that it indeed contains your line of descent, simply copy the information you need and create an ancestral chart. Be sure to write down the page number where you find the information on each name you are jotting down. So, if you ever need to go back for a fact, you will easily be able to find the information again, without having to search through pages and pages.
One important thing to be aware of is the fact that information is in a published genealogy (no matter how professionally printed), is not necessarily a guarantee that it is accurate. Sometimes the compiler of the genealogy may have put together their work based on hearsay or inaccurate memories. Therefore it is essential that always check dates, facts and relationships against other sources such as official or original records. Many times, in fact, you may find that a few scraps of faded paper can contain a genealogy that is much more accurate than one that has been printed and bound.
Another information source for genealogical research is local histories, as these often contain information about residents, family members and their origins. In particular, you will find that a great many local histories were written at the end of the 19th century when commercial publishers packaged information with subscriptions from businesses and people that are willing to pay to be included (often, it was a situation where the bigger the payment, the larger the entry). Additionally, the publishing of local histories is always popular whenever a town or city celebrates its landmark anniversaries.
You should also always be on the look out for helpful genealogical journals and newsletters. These contain huge volumes of information – but it also means that you have a huge amount of published material from which to sort! More than a thousand magazines publish information on societies and genealogical libraries, and some even invite people to write in with questions, so that other readers can help them in their information search. Besides the many regional and state genealogical periodicals, there are also general periodicals pertaining to genealogy that offer current topics, top-notch research techniques, ads, and means for genealogists to contact each other.
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