Posted in Cheat Sheets, Genealogy Toolkit, Research tips, Websites

Genealogy Toolkit: Cheat Sheets from Family Tree Magazine

Good news everyone!  You are finally old enough to use a “cheat sheet” legitimately.  In fact, it is one of the secrets of successful genealogists because genealogy is an “open book” test.  You can’t store all the necessary information in your head, so knowing where to look for that information really differentiates the pros from the amateurs.

It is essential that you begin to create your own cheat sheets for the localities you research the most, and also for general research topics.

Family Tree Magazine has developed some handy cheat sheets for general topics and they are free.

Click this link for access to these quick reference guides.  You will first need to sign up for a free account and sign in to access the free resources.  Here are some snippets from several cheat sheets.  I like this timeline of naturalization laws:

Part of online Family Tree Magazine “Naturalization Laws Timeline”

This war service reference guide will help you know which military conflicts your ancestor might have been a part of:

Part of online Family Tree Magazine “War Service Reference Guide”

This source checklist comes in handy:

Part of online Family Tree Magazine “Source List Checklist”

There are plenty more on Family Tree Magazine’s website, so check them out.  Create a link to them in your digital genealogy toolkit, and add printouts to your reference binder, Cheater 😉

For links to this and other handy genealogy tools, click on Dayna’s Genealogy Toolkit on the menu bar above.

Posted in Acronyms and Abbreviations, Genealogy Toolkit, Research tips, Websites

Genealogy Toolkit: Acronyms and Abbreviations

First off, check out the new link on the menu above for “Dayna’s Genealogy Toolkit.”   This is a collection of websites I find handy for the research process.  In most cases I consider these tools because they are not places to find names and dates, but instead they give me a way to better organize and analyze information.  Some of them, like Linkpendium and Genealogy Sleuth are portals to database collections but I like the way they are organized. One—Railroad Employee Records—is just a cool site I didn’t want to lose track of.

Today I am highlighting the first one on the list, the collection of genealogy acronyms and abbreviations.  We come across these mysterious entries in source documents all the time.  For example… list of Acronyms and Abbreviations

How handy to have a quick place to look up AMOS, and how exciting to learn there is an Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans.  How could the Odd Fellows have possibly made their name more intriguing?

The website includes a list of books and websites that were referenced in compiling this list.  One thing I find a little off-putting is all the spelling errors and typos in the paragraph that introduces the list.  (Ugh.  That is a pet peeve of mine!)  The list itself seems to have been compiled with greater care, however, and I find it quite helpful.

Even though I can have more fun making up my own explanation for acronyms (you mean to tell me PBA doesn’t stand for Poor Babies of America??) it is more professional to use the standard interpretation.

Until next time…HT    (Happy Trails!)

Posted in Genealogy Toolkit, Immigration and Naturalization, Maps, Research tips, Timelines, Websites

A Few Interesting Timeline and Map sites

I’m posting links to a few animated maps and timelines, and mapping sites with a twist, like the U.S. History Primary Source Timeline, America’s Best History Timeline, World History Timeline, New York Times Immigration Explorer,  History Pin, and Timeline of Events in the West, There are lots of these kinds of timelines out there (just do a search in any browser), so find one you like and put it in your genealogy toolkit–handy sites that help you organize and interpret your research.

Having a historical timeline in your toolkit will help you understand the events that affected your ancestors’ lives, and can give you clues about what kinds of records to search.  Was there a war going on? Did the creation of a territory provide opportunity for free land?  Did world events stimulate immigration from certain countries?

Along with historical timelines for the nation, consider finding or creating state and county timelines, and always create a timeline for a family.  That should be one of the first things you do as you begin your research, but it can also be something that will help you when you are well down the road in your research and may have come to a dead end.

Integrate your family timeline with county, state, and national timelines and you may be surprised at the new ideas that emerge for your research.

TIP:  Keep your genealogy toolkit handy by creating a “Toolkit” folder on the “favorites” or “bookmark bar” in your internet browser, or create a  “Toolkit” folder in the Evernote program.