Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jumpstart Tip #23 - Research Places, not just People

There is a tendency when working on our family trees (yes, me too) to be driven by the Pedigree Chart. We see those empty boxes and are compelled to fill in a name and a few dates and then, up come two more empty boxes because that person had a father and mother too.

Don't forget the importances of doing PLACE NAME RESEARCH from time to time as well. If your ancestors lived somewhere for any appreciable amount of time, it would serve you well to understand a little bit about that place.

Here are just a few of the questions you should consider:
> Where is the place located?
> Was it known by any other name?
> Is the place part of a larger area (region, province, county, parish, state, etc.)?
> What drives the local economy and how has it changed over the years?
> What ethnic groups are most common in the area
> What newspapers served or serve the area?
> Is there a local history or genealogy society?
> What is the name of the local library?
> What are the names of the local cemeteries and houses of worship?

All these things will prove helpful, because it is very likely that your ancestors left some sort of 'paper trail' with clues along the way.

You can start by using Google Maps to get more precise information about the place name or possibly conduct a general Google search for other information about the place.

By understanding the PLACES of our family, we'll have a much better understanding of what may have served as motivation for decisions they made. Decisions to move, who they married, family friends, and more.

No comments:

Post a Comment