Genealogy 101 3-21-2017

By | September 7, 2019

Hi I want to welcome you to Genealogy 101. My name is Crystal Ward and today Alice Winslow and I will be discussing How one gets started with genealogy research. I want to thank you for spending your time
here with us today and hope that you learn something new about genealogy research. Let me first introduce myself and my Colleague, Alice Winslow. Alice has had an interest in family history for many years. She has researched her family in Ireland and Germany and has a Masters in Library Science Degree from Indiana University. She spent 12 years as an Elementary School Media specialist and now she is working as a librarian in the Genealogy division at the Indiana State Library. I have been working in libraries for about 15 years. I started out as a page at the Haughville Branch of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library I’ve worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Library, Herron School of Art Library, IUPUI University Library and most recently, as a librarian at Marion County Jail 2. I currently work at the Indiana State Library in the Genealogy Division and I have two mini schnauzers. They’ll be helping us today with your family history research. Genealogy Research is about finding answers,
asking questions, and solving problems. This research can be difficult, frustrating,
and time consuming. Hopefully after today’s presentation you will
be better equipped to begin your research. By understanding the principles of genealogy research, knowing where to look, how to get started, establishing achievable goals, and
having an idea about the different record sets available to find the information you
are seeking, you will find that genealogy research is enjoyable, a little less frustrating,
and worth the time. I will start by talking about the 3 basic
principles in family history research, we will cover how to get started with Ancestry,
talk about setting achievable goals, and I will end my portion of the discussion by introducing
you to the genealogy community. I will then hand the presentation over to
Alice who will explain the different record sets and what information you can look for in these particular
records. The three basic principles that we will cover
today are 1) Start with yourself, 2) Ask questions of your relatives, 3) and work backwards in
time. The first principle to genealogy research
is to Start with yourself and by this I mean record or write down all the details that you personally
know about your relatives. Write down your parents names, your birth
information, wedding dates and siblings information. Once you have finished with your immediate family work backwards and start with your grandparents, uncles, aunts and so forth. I encourage you to look around your house
or your relatives’ for wedding announcements, funeral cards, diaries, church bulletins,
school photos or yearbooks. Record this information on a group sheet or
pedigree chart. and try to fill in as much information that you
can. Create a research log of your findings. Write down where you have already looked and
what results you found. For example, I keep a notebook and jot down what family names I have looked for on certain databases and search engines. This prevents me from duplicating a search. I will write down that I looked for a marriage
record for my Pyatt and Kord grandparents in the ISL Marriage database. I will note if I found a record so that I
don’t continue to look in the same place. I will also write down what spellings I used
when I searched Ancestry or FamilySearch. Often my family named is misspelled and I
want to note which spelling I searched and which ones return more results. Look over what you have compiled at this point
and create a to do list of information you want to find. Look over your family group sheet or pedigree chart and look for holes or gaps in information. Here is an example of a PEDIGREE CHART FOR
see that she has filled out as much information as she can, Alice once told me that she was very fortunate that many who came before her were interested in their family history and
she has been able to add to what they started. She knows most of the dates and places for
some of her ancestors, ( by asking questions) she wants to dig further to find out more about their lives, exactly where they lived, where they worked, where they went to church, etc. It is also important to mention that as you
begin your research you should record all citations. Make a note of where you found the information. For example, did you find your Grandmothers
birthdate on a birth certificate or word of mouth from a family member? Having citations will be helpful later if
you have a found some questionable information or you are challenged by a distant relative
who has done some research themselves. It is particularly important to record where
you found the information if you plan to join a lineage society like the Daughters of the
American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution. This is a RESEARCH QUESTIONS FORM and this is another form that can be used to write down questions you have and possible information sources. This is particular helpful if you are a note
taker or list maker. I prefer this form because I can jot down
random facts that might be helpful later on in my research. This brings us to the second basic principle. Ask questions. Make sure you ask precise questions and listen
to what your relatives tell you. It is a good idea to bring a note book and
jot down any stories that your relatives may tell. You might consider investing in a digital
recorder or use a smart phone. Ask open ended questions that inspire your interviewee to elaborate on the details. Think outside the box when asking question
for example, don’t just ask when and where they were born but ask what schools they went to. Many historical societies are digitizing yearbooks. Alice found this digitized 1938 Shortridge
HS yearbook and found her father’s Senior picture. She had never seen any pictures of him at
this age. She also looked through some of the club pictures
and found the author Kurt Vonnegut pictured as a sophomore as a member of the Student
Council! A few things to ask:
Did your family move around a lot? Were they part of a church, community service
center or organization? Did they have hobbies or join the girl or
boy scouts. What industries did your relatives work in? Several big companies here in Indy have archives
and could contain employee records. Keep in mind that many organizations keep
these records that your relatives could show up in them. You want to work backward in time, and this is our 3rd principle. You want to start
with yourself in order to connect one generation to the previous generation. When you work backward you can establish that
you are related to the previous generation. When you skip over generations you are losing
the connections and possible relatives. One of the most difficult research strategies
to perform is working forward in time or trying to connect yourself to a particular family. You will see this a lot when people try to
connect themselves to famous families or claim Native American ancestry. The reason why you don’t want to take this
approach is that you might miss or leave out family members. Working from the past to the present (or a
famous relative to yourself) is called reverse genealogy or tracing descendants. This most often leads to a false direction
or researching a family that you are not related to you and thus wasting a lot of time. Now that you know the basics it is time to
talk about setting achievable goals in your research. I recommend that you Start small and pick a certain detail that
you don’t know about your family. Discover when vital records were kept. For example, birth and death records were
not required to be created in Indiana until 1907 and then it wasn’t strictly enforced
until the 1920’s. Understanding the timeframes for records can prevent useless searches for a birth certificate that never existed. Look over what you know AND look
at your “want to know” list. I looked over my own list and wanted to find
the date of my Grandparents marriage. Starting with the details that I personally
know. I know that they were married around the 1920’s
in Marion County and they have always lived on the Westside of Indianapolis. They were Irish Catholic and attended St.
Anthony’s Church. Using this information I am going to look
at local newspapers for wedding announcements, Census records & city directories to narrow
down when they became a family. Alice is going to go into more in-depth research
methods later so I will let her elaborate on this in more detail .
Review what you have found out and check back later with the same sources or databases as
more records are added or digitized. As time goes by more records or census records
are released in accordance with privacy laws or policies. Now talking about achievable goals… I have searched but I haven’t been able to
find Dwight or Moses’s birth certificate. I am beginning to think that they might be
adopted 😉 By now you should be ready to get started
on researching and using some tools of the trade. You will want to search,,
and to get your feet wet. Play around with these tools and become familiar
with the search options. Keep in mind that names are often misspelled and you want to keep an open mind about misspellings. Let’s look at, and let me show
you a shortcut that I like to use. So you’ll want to go to the homepage of Now this is the Library edition, so it may look slightly different than your home subscription. You’ll want to focus on the top left hand side of the page. From there click on the search button. A drop down menu should appear and click on
the All Categories option. This should take you to a page with a map
of the United States. I click on Indiana and this should give you
a list of available databases that are searchable with Indiana records. So you should see something like this.
Here is the screen and you can see it breaks
down what records are available to search. I use the Indiana Death Certificates, and
the Indiana Marriage database a lot. For example if you are looking for Aunt Jean’s
death record from 1980, in Indianapolis, Indiana you can click on the Indiana, Death
Certificates, 1899-2011 database. FamilySearch is a organized and operated
by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was previously known as the Genealogical
Society of Utah (or “GSU”) and is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch maintains a collection of records,
resources, and services designed to help people learn more about their family history. FamilySearch gathers, preserves, and shares
genealogical records worldwide. It offers free access to its resources and
services online at, one of the most heavily used genealogy sites on
the Internet. This is a direct quote from their wiki page, and I personally use it a lot in my research Both personally and professionally. Family search also has family charts and trees
that users have uploaded and are available to the public. One of their best assets in my humble opinion
is the wiki pages they have created for genealogy. They are loaded with a lot of concise information
and links to online genealogy records. Another often overlooked resource is their
catalog of books and microfilm, which can be borrowed and sent to other family history
affiliate libraries, so you can view them yourself. All you have to do is create an account and then you are ready to order microfilm. You would use the family search catalog microfilm. You click on Search then Catalog. You will be directed to the webpage on the
left. Here you can see a search box for place. I entered Indianapolis, Indiana in the search
box and you can see my results by that search term. Your search will be broken up into types of
records, such as Church, city directories, or vital records to name a few. From here you can click on the type of record
that interest you and you will be shown the microfilm records that are available. Once you get to the catalog record you can
request to have the film sent to a family history affiliate library or family history
center near you. The Indiana State Library is a Family History
Affiliate library and you can have your microfilm sent to our location to be viewed on our microfilms. One source that I use a lot
is Find a grave is a user submitted database
of graves. Keep in mind that people do make mistakes
and that this source is entirely dependent on the user inputting the information. I would recommended that you verify the information. Find a grave can be searched by the name of
the deceased or the cemetery. You can narrow it down to the county level
or state. One piece of advice that I want to share with you is to join the genealogy community, don’t go it alone. Check out blogs written by experts in the
community such as Dick Eastman, Judy Russell, and Amy Johnson Crow. Check out popular websites like Cyndi’s List. Join as many organizations that you can such
as historical societies, genealogy groups, lineage societies, and seek out help and fellowship. Facebook also has many genealogy groups to
join in and follow. Listservs are a great way to get to know the
community. There is one for Genealogy Librarians called
Genealib which is geared towards librarians who service Genealogy Researchers and maintained by
the University of South Florida. These people are researching their families
and they have been in your shoes. Who knows, you might even find a connection
with someone and find out you are related! You have the awesome advantage of being part
a helpful community and one that you should become involved. Genealogy special interest groups often have
classes, webinars and yearly conferences. They can connect you with other researchers
and also introduce you to more advanced classes or research. I have discussed how to get started, explained
the importance of starting with yourself, asking questions and working backwards in
time. We covered a few basic genealogy websites
and mentioned blogs, listservs, and websites. I covered the benefits of becoming apart of
this community. I am going to hand over the presentation to
my colleague Alice Winslow. Should you have any questions please visit
our website at You can also submit reference questions via
the ask a librarian service. Hi, I’m Alice Winslow and I’ll be presenting
the second half of this webinar. Now we’re going to take a look at some of
the Record Sets you’ll want to research. The Federal Population Census records are
a great place to start. Then you’ll want to search the Vital Records
which include birth, marriage, and death records. Other records to look at are military records,
city directories, newspapers, church records, bible records, cemeteries, and county histories. Some additional records you can look at are
funeral home records, wills and probate, land and court records, immigration and tax records,
AT IS THE US FEDERAL POPULATION CENSUS. It has been conducted every 10 years since
1790. However, because of privacy issues and confidentiality,
the 1940 census is the most current one available to the public. The next population census to be released
will be the 1950 Census and it will be released in 2022. There is a 72 year period until a population
census is released for public research. There are many, many pieces of information
to be found in the census records. Each census differs from decade to decade. Let’s look at some examples. This is a 1790 Census showing Benjamin Rush
who was a signer of Dec. of Independence, living in Bedford, Pennsylvania. He was a physician, AND Rush was an ardent
THIS VERY FIRST US CENSUS OF 1790. They asked the Name of the head of the family; address; number of free white males of 16 years and up, including
heads; free white males under 16; free white females, including heads; all other free persons;
and the number of slaves. He did not have any slaves as you can see
on this census. Beginning with the 1850 census, all of the
members of the household are now named on the census. Before 1850, only the head of the household
was named. This is a census record page for Springfield,
Sangamon County Illinois which includes the entry for Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln returned to Illinois in 1849
following a term in the House of Representatives. Notice how his First name is spelled on the
original census? It is spelled “Abram” instead of Abraham. Ancestry adds the spelling variations. Abraham is the head of household. Also living in the household is his wife Mary,
son Robert, and a Catherine Gordon. We can see that his occupation is listed as
Attorney at Law. Here is the information obtained on this 1850
census, and these are the exact words used on this census:
Name, address, age, sex, color (white, black, or mulatto) for each person, whether deaf
and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic; all free persons required to give value of real estate
owned; profession, occupation, or trade for each male person over 15; place of birth;
whether attended school within the year; whether unable to read and write for persons over
20; whether a pauper or convict. I want to talk a moment about spelling issues
on the censuses. These are the 1860 and 1880 census pages for
my great great Grandfather Dominick Farrell. Notice the 1860 census and the incorrect spelling
of his name DomAnick O’Farrel. The correct spelling I have highlighted in
blue. Then again on the 1880 census his name is
incorrectly spelled as Dominick Forrell. It took me a lot of time just to find him
on these 2 censuses. I have still not been able to find him on
the 1850 and 1870 censuses and I am sure it is due to spelling issues. I am sure the census takers, who were called
enumerators, tried their best to write names down correctly. But we have to take into consideration, a
person’s accent and mother tongue. Dominick probably had a very thick Irish brogue
and the enumerator probably wrote down exactly what he heard. If you do have trouble finding an ancestor
on a census, try different spelling variations as you search. Here is the Information obtained on the 1880
census that is different than previous, just to name a few…now they are asking
The Relationship of the other people to head of household, as in wife, son, daughter, son-in-law, etc; Marital
status; and place of birth of the person listed, along with the place of birth of their own
father and mother. Today’s BRICK WALL is brought to you by the
1890 Census that was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1921. So there is a 20 year gap in the Federal census
from 1880 to 1900. Some states conducted a special census every
5 years in between the Federal ones. These special censuses can help fill in gaps
along with using city Directories to help fill in. I’ll go into more detail with the city directories
a bit later. The last Census we will look at is the 1910
Census. At the top of the page of every census you
will find the township, county, state, date of enumeration, name of the enumerator, district
and ward numbers in addition to the questions being asked. Notice all of the additional questions that
have been added to the 1910 census. This time they ask:
Marital status, number of years in present marriage, for women: number of children born
and number now living. Birthplace and mother tongue of person and
parents; if foreign born, year of immigration, whether naturalized and whether able to speak
English, if they can’t speak English then what is the language spoken; occupation, industry, and class of worker; if an employee,
whether out of work during the year, whether lived on farm or in house, and now on this census, they ask whether a survivor
of union or confederate army or navy. Let’s now turn our attention to Vital Records:
Indiana began issuing birth certificates in 1882; however, these records were optional
until 1907 as Crystal mentioned. In 1907, the state of Indiana passed a law
requiring all counties to register their births with the Indiana State Board of Health and
unfortunately, this didn’t come into complete compliance until around 1920. Consequently, many births between 1882-1920
were not recorded, thus there isn’t any record of their birth. Vital records from 1882 to the present are
kept by the local Health Department in the county in which the birth or death took place. From 1907 to the present, the records are
ALSO kept by the Indiana State Department of Health. For births and deaths occurring prior to 1882,
you will need to consult alternative record sources, such as religious records, cemetery
records, census records, county histories, family histories, family Bible records, or
other places where vital information may have been recorded. There is a lot of information to be gleaned
from a birth certificate. This 1920 Indiana Birth Certificate shows:
the Date of birth, county/township/city, address, full name of child, whether the child was
legitimate yes/no, twin, triplet, Also contained in this record is the Name
of father and mother (with her maiden name), birthplace of mother/father, age, occupation,
race, number of children born to this mother/number of those still living, Signed by attending
physician. ** Online at Ancestry you can search the Collection
of Indiana Birth Records 1907-1940. Marriages were recorded from the formation
of the county. Marriage records prior to the late 1800’s
usually include only the names of the couple, the date of marriage and sometimes the date
of the license, the officiant’s name, the county of marriage, and occasionally the names
of witnesses. Late in the 1800’s, more detailed marriage
application forms were used. This early 1837 marriage record is a very
simple, handwritten entry. No specific form was available to use. It only has very basic information-the names
of the two people getting married, the county, the date, perhaps the officiant’s name, and
the clerk of the court of the county. Many people assume that the old marriage records
will have the names of both sets of parents. Unfortunately, the parents are not listed
on these early marriage records. As you can see in this 1887 marriage record,
a specific form was being used, but again, it is a very simple form and still doesn’t
give much information. The names of the parents are still not included
on the record. As you can see in this 1917 Marriage application
form, a lot more information is contained in just this one record! This application has two columns, one for
the male and one for the female’s information. It asks:
The names of the people getting married, where and when they were born, present residence,
present occupation, IF no occupation, what means does the male contracting party have
to support a family?, Full name of father, his birthplace, his occupation,
his residence-then the same question of the Male’s mother,
Has the male contracting party been an inmate of any county asylum or home for indigent
persons within the last five years?…if so, is he now able to support a family and likely
to so continue?, Is this his first marriage? if not, how often
has he been married?, Is the male contracting party afflicted with epilepsy, tuberculosis,
or any other contagious or transmissible disease Most of the same questions were asked of the
female. Death records began in a few Indiana cities
as early as the 1870’s. The first law requiring county registration
of death was passed in 1882. In 1900, all deaths were to be registered
with the state but compliance with the law varied until 1920. Online at Ancestry you can search the Collection
of Indiana Death Certificates: 1899 – 2011 This is the 1926 death certificate for my
great grandfather, Michael H. Farrell. Take note of the information on this record: It has the Place of death-township/county/city,
address, personal statistics: sex, color or race, marital status, name of husband or wife,
date of birth, age, occupation. Also included is the name and birthplace of
father and mother (with maiden name). Then the date of death, the main and secondary
cause of death, and then it’s signed by the doctor. The place and date of burial with undertaker’s
name and address is also listed. It also includes the name and address of informant. I want to talk a moment about the “Informant”
on the death certificate. This is the person who is giving the city
official all of this information. So, if it is a close family member, it’s more
likely that the information will be correct. However, if the informant is a neighbor or
such, the information might not be totally accurate or complete. So, you have to take this into consideration. On this death certificate his wife Teresa was the informant so we can be reasonably sure that the family information that she gave is correct. Moving on to military Records:
This is a Civil War Draft Registration of June, 1863 in the Fifth Congressional District
consisting of several counties in the State of Indiana. I came across this Civil War Record for my
great, great grandfather, Michael Metz. I had not known that any of my ancestors had
any involvement in the Civil War. This was mainly because of the timing of their
immigration to America in the mid 1800’s and also because of their ages and the ages of their
children. I came across Michael Metz’s Civil War Draft
Registration Record on Ancestry. I have his entry highlighted. This record has his name, current residence,
age (40) years, occupation (tailor), and where he was born (Germany). This is a 1917 draft registration for World
War I. It asks for name, residence, date and place
of birth, occupation, where employed, any dependents, married or single, race, any prior
military service, do you claim exemption from the draft? In addition it asks if the person is a natural
born citizen, a naturalized citizen, an alien or have they declared their intentions to
become a US citizen. This draft registration also gives a physical
description of the person, who happens to be my grandfather. He was of medium build, slender, blue eyes,
black hair, was not balding. Having a chart similar to this can be very
helpful in determining if an ancestor may have been involved in any of these wars. If your ancestor falls within one of these
ranges, you can then check for military records. If you just google, “birth years of veterans
chart,” you’ll come up with different charts like this one. Every major city had City Directories (and
they still do) that usually also included the small town areas around the major city. City directories can be very useful in finding
an ancestor’s address and occupation possibly documenting moves between publications, which
were about every 2 years. Be sure to take a look at the Table of Contents
in the directory to see what information is included. You’ll be surprised! Also, if you know what type of occupation
or business your ancestor might have had, you can check the advertisements to see if
they might be listed. City Directories contained names and addresses
of the people of the city along with city businesses, advertisements, cemeteries, churches,
hospitals, etc. The page on the left is from the 1926 Indianapolis
city Directory. This entry shows my great great grandmother
Theresa Farrell listed and then it has her husband Michael’s name next to her name with
the abbreviation for widower. Then her address is listed. If you aren’t sure of an ancestor’s death
date, this “widower” type information can be helpful in narrowing down the year of death. In this case I already knew Michael Farrell
had died the year before in 1925. I think it’s fun to look at the advertisements
-it can give you a look into that particular time period. Newspapers can be a great source of information. You just have to have a good dose of patience
to wade through them on microfilm! Notice the difference in the 1891 newspaper
on the left and the 1965 newspaper page to the right of it. In the older paper, there is not a listing
of the different sections with page numbers. And they were usually 6-9 columns packed with
ONLY text – no pictures. You’ll also notice the older paper does not
have article headings in BOLD and BIGGER print. This makes it more difficult to look through. Newspapers may have listed marriage and death
notices, legal notices, tax lists, and society-type news like the comings and goings of local
residents. It’s also interesting to look through newspapers
from the town and time period your ancestor lived because it can give you a glimpse into
their daily lives. Obituaries were not common in Indiana newspapers
until the very late 1800’s. A brief death notice MIGHT be given but you
will probably have to read the entire newspaper to find it. The clipping on the top right corner is from
the Cambridge City Tribune showing a notice of the transfer of land from my great-great grandfather Dominick Farrell
to two of his adult children. This information can then lead me to look
up deed records. Also the Lot and block numbers can be looked
up on a city map to find the exact locations The lower right corner clipping is society-type
news you might find. Gravestones in cemeteries can hold valuable
information, sometimes you might find dates that might pre-date Indiana birth/death records. The lower right stone reads that Ruben Helmdied April 26, 1894 and shows his age at death as 66 years, 6 months, and 25 days…SO YOU
CAN FIGURE OUT HIS ACTUAL BIRTH DATE with this information. Gravestones might also identify relationships,
such as mother, father, daughter, etc. The gravestone on the left reads, In memory
of Hannah wife of Henry Waring and daughter of Samuel and Ann Ferris who departed this
life, April 3, 1823, aged 72 years. THE GRAVESTONE ON THE UPPER RIGHT identifies
William Thorp and his military service in the Civil War and also gives rank and company. This information can then be used for further
research. You also might be able to obtain information
from records in the Cemetery Office. Here is a list of some local places around Indianapolis and the state that you might be able to go to to research
and find resources. As we finish up, we thought you might enjoy
seeing a few fun family trees using different designs. The one on the bottom left contains the characters
of “Pride and Prejudice.” My personal favorite is the kid-drawn family
tree. We hope you have enjoyed our presentation
and hope you feel confident in starting your own genealogy research and also helping patrons
who come into your library! Thank you so much for joining us today!

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