Dayna’s Genealogy Toolkit

Dayna’s Genealogy Toolkit

Dayna Jacobs, AG®

toolkit piktochart

This toolkit is full of my go-to links that are (mostly) not record repositories, but rather are tools to help me find, interpret, and organize my research and records. I think you’ll want to keep them handy, too.

Abbreviations & Acronyms for Genealogy – What do they mean?

Animated Atlas – U.S. History Timeline

Archive Grid – Enter a zip code to identify nearby archives

BLM-GLO Records – Find U.S. federal land patents and locate parcels on a map

Cheat Sheet – Boolean Genealogy Searches – Online searches made easy from OGT

Cheat Sheets – Family Tree Magazine – A variety of helps

Cheat Sheet – Table of Wars and Ages of Servicemen –  Determine which war your ancestor might have been involved with

Citation Creator – EasyBib – Help for source citations

Cloud Convert – Convert files from one format to another

David Rumsey Digital Map Collection – Excellent map resource

Earth Point township and range tools – Locate land in the public domain

Easy Google Genealogy Searcher – Google search templates for genealogists

Encyclopedia of Genealogy – by Dick Eastman

Evernote – Organize your research

Free Forms and Charts – Family Tree Magazine

Free Forms and Charts – Rootsweb

Genealogy Gophers – Searches in genealogy books digitized by FamilySearch

Geographic Names Info System (GNIS) – Supercharged online gazetteer

Historical Map Archive – A look back in time

Internet Archive – For digitized county and family histories

Learning Center – Free online courses at FamilySearch

Linkpendium – Links to genealogy resources organized by locality

Map of US – Interactive map of the U.S. and county boundaries by year

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Order land entry files and pension files

Newspapers – Library of Congress: Chronicling America

Research Report Template – Download this editable template from OGT

Research Wiki – FamilySearch – Huge knowledge base for researchers

Surname Distribution Maps – See where surnames are clustered geographically

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy – Online version of a classic

Timeline Template – Download this editable template from OGT

Town and County Database (Rootsweb) – Enter the name of a town to find the county

Vital Records – Where to write

Worldcat – Find libraries and items for interlibrary loan

The ICAPGen ℠ service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and AG® registered marks are the sole property of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.  All Rights Reserved.

Quick Video Tutorial: Cheatsheet Record Selection Table

Wondering which records have the information you need?  A record selection table might give you some ideas.

Quick Video Tutorial: Evernote for Genealogy – “To Do”lists using the Web Clipper

As you browse online catalogs for libraries and archives, create a ‘to do’ list of sources to search during your next visit to the repository.  Learn how to use the Evernote Web Clipper for your next research project in my practical and quick tutorial.

Quick Video Tutorial: Finding online links to genealogy records for each state

Links to Online Genealogy Records for Each State


I love the FamilySearch Research Wiki for many reasons.  One of them is the page titled “United States Online Genealogy Records.”  This is a page with a link for each state page—pages which have neatly organized links to online genealogy records.  It also has a few other links to pages with general U.S. records as follows:

Arizona Online Genealogy Records

Part of FamilySearch page for Arizona Online Genealogy Records

If you like the idea of an entire page full of links to [insert favorite state name here] all neatly organized into familiar categories like births, marriages, deaths, archives and libraries, biography, cemetery, census, compiled genealogies, directories, history, military, and—well, you get what I’m saying—then you are going to love these state pages.  Just take a look at the full page of Arizona links.  Be sure to also check out the box titled, “Arizona Background” and its links for Biography, Gazetteers, History, Maps, Migration, and “For Further Reading.”

These are not just links to databases on FamilySearch, but links to fee-based websites, as well. The good news is that the fee-based websites appear to be those that patrons of LDS Family History Centers have access to at no charge, like The majority of links appear to be free, and are from the FamilySearch digitized collections.

Since the FamilySearch Research Wiki can be edited by anyone, presumably these pages with online links will be updated as new ones become available and alert Wiki contributors add them.

A New Adventure: Publishing My First Video Tutorial

Well, I guess you are the first to know…On Granny’s Trail has gone “video.”  Today I published my first online video tutorial, titled, “Finding Libraries and Archives with WorldCat and ArchiveGrid.” I hope to provide a link to my tutorials here after I create a few more.

Probably won’t break any box office records and most certainly will not go viral (maybe I should have worn a Chewbacca mask!), but it was very satisfying to create and I think it will be the first of many.  I really like this platform for instruction and sharing and hope you will, too!

Here’s to new adventures and YouTube!

When was it a territory? When was it a state?

Here is a reference table to help you see at a glance when each state in the Mountain West was first a territory and then a state. I have also added a column for history which gives some key dates in each state’s history.  Feel free to copy this table for your own use.

After you have pinpointed where your ancestor was living, working, or passing through at a given time, it is important to find out what country/state/ territory/county had jurisdiction in that locality on that date. That will tell you where the records can be found—or at least who was creating the records. You may be surprised to find that Arizona ancestor in New Mexico territorial records, or that Nevada ancestor in Utah territorial records. And Colorado ancestors?  Take your pick of Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, or New Mexico territories…

Stay tuned for some advice on where to look for the records, especially territorial records—an important record group for research in any western state.  Click on the map link in the menu bar to access map resources which will be helpful in determining boundaries and jurisdictions.