Going over your Genealogy Again.
Once an ancestor has been researched, it can be difficult to know how often should we go back and research the ancestor again for possible new information. Typically the resources found at local libraries don’t change, but the resources and information found on the internet change all the time. New information is being indexed and added to online resources every day. Sometimes we forget that genealogy facts can show up in the most unexpected places. For instance, a line of ancestors lived in Pennsylvania and then moved to Indiana. This particular group stayed in Indiana and didn’t migrate further west. However, who knew that a significant clue to this line turned out to be located in an Illinois Biographical book? All it took was one sibling to have moved further west. This individual was quite successful and an extensive biography was written about him. It contained important information about his grandparents, who were my direct ancestors.
One of the best reasons to go back and research your ancestors again is to find additional supporting facts which can confirm or contradict your previous research. Here is a great article from Ancestral Findings on 5 Ways to Tell if your Genealogy Research is Accurate. Often we only have one piece of evidence to support a given piece of information. All of us can imagine how this could easily lead to an erroneous family tree or simply persuade us to research probable scenarios to fit that bit of information, forever putting us on the wrong track to finding more information about our ancestors. Every small bit of information we have gives us clues that can lead us to new information about our ancestors.
For an example of brick wall research check out this link. Brick Wall Study: Sam Hopkins of Hamilton County, Indiana.
The importance of research logs
Research logs are a simple way to record what you have searched, the goal of your research, the places you have searched, and more. Research logs for family history is a key element to being an efficient researcher. It also helps you to focus your research with a specific goal in mind. Our genealogy research can turn into fruitless hours trying the same searches over and over again. Ever heard the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result,” genealogy research can be like this. An article by Family Genealogy illustrates a full blown method for recording and logging your research.
A system for revisiting old research.
There are two main ways to re-spark your research.
- finding new genealogical resources or newly indexed sources that have suddenly been published online. A fantastic resource to see what new databases are available is to check in frequently with the Ancestral Findings website’s Free Genealogy Lookups. This page showcases new genealogy resources available online. These new resources could be an additional collection recently added to Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org or simply an individual database through a library or private website.
- Conducting periodic DEEP WEB Google searches using the tricks laid out in this article, “You Don’t know Google: Part 1.”
Another tactic for solving mysteries is to recruit the help of another researcher. I find it amazing that you can have 5 genealogists searching the same subject and they will unfailingly come back with different bits of information on the same subject. For help on your roadblock, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send your information to our contact page, and we will have another pair of eyes look at your family history mystery.