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Genealogy Tech Talk. Spanish. Basic Research Strategy. START WITH YOURSELF & MOVE BACKWARDS. Get Organized (fill out a pedigree chart) Talk to Ancestors Research in the U.S. Census Research in Vital Records. Basic Research Strategy. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Genealogy Tech TalkSpanish

  • Basic Research StrategySTART WITH YOURSELF & MOVE BACKWARDS. Get Organized (fill out a pedigree chart)

    Talk to Ancestors

    Research in the U.S. Census

    Research in Vital Records

  • Basic Research Strategy


  • Ancestry.comThe Home Edition of also has user-contributed data such as family trees.

  • HeritageQuest

  • WorldCat

  • Exercise 1

    What can we learn by reading a census page?

  • Census BasicsEach decade, enumerators have used different modes of travel to take them from interview to interview. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office.)

  • A word of cautionCensus research is not always straightforward

    The census misrecords a name, or there is name variation.The census indexer misreads a nameThe family story is wrong


    Mason Edgar McCarty (actual name) -> Nathan E. McCarty (census misrecords) -> Wattan E. McCarty (indexer misreads)

  • A word of caution contdVincenzia Carbone immigrated in 1915 from Corleone, Sicily --> after living in the U.S. she changed her name to the English version: Virginia Carbone

  • A word of caution contdGreat-Grandfather Jake McCarty -> is actually Great-Great-Grandfather Jacob McCarty

  • Vital RecordsBirth, marriage and death records.

    Free internet sites to look for Vital Records include:

    USGen Web:

    Cindys List:

    Death Indexes & Records:

    Centers for Disease Control:

    Genealogy Roots Blog:

    Family History Library Catalog:

  • Exercise 2How can we request a copy of an original Social Security application using

  • Social Security RecordFull nameFull name at birth (including maiden name)Present mailing addressAge at last birthdayDate of birthPlace of birth (city, county, state)Fathers full name regardless of whether living or deadMothers full name, including maiden name, regardless of whether living or deadSex and raceEver applied for SS number/Railroad Retirement before? Yes/NoCurrent employers name and addressDate signedApplicants signature

  • Newspapers and Obituaries

  • Newspapers and ObituariesLocal Public Libraries (small community newspapers on microfilm)Statewide Repositories (Sutro Library - Branch of the California State Library with a large genealogy and family history resource collection.)Major Commercial Digitization Projects ProQuest has digitized The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Constitution, etc.ProQuest has a product called ProQuest Obituaries that extracts just the obituary from these papers.Genealogy Bank - Newsbank offers access to the San Jose Mercury News.Ancestrys home subscription also offers a number of digitized newspapers.Free Digitized Newspapers - The Library of Congress has started a major newspaper digitization project called Chronicling America.

  • City DirectoriesCity Directories are the predecessor to todays phone books. The bulk of them were published in the period 1860-1930. They listed city residents (Name, Home address, Job title, Place of employment) and city institutions. City directories are great tools for genealogists for two reasons:

    They track individuals in the years between censuses.

    They provide an annual snapshot of a city: its churches, schools, street addresses and other basic information that researches find useful.

    There are a number of places that tend to hold city directories in print format e.g. your local public library. Digitized city directories are available from a number of websites. Ancestry offers some digitized directories. USGenWeb might also have some. Increasingly, book digitization projects such as Google Books at and the Open Content Alliance/Internet Archive at include digitized copies of city directories.

  • Local Histories & Family HistoriesLocal histories were a popular genre for subscription-based publishers. Canvassers would gather historical information about the county while simultaneously selling the publication. As a result, these books are packed with detail about local residents.

    County histories typically record the history of each town and township in a county, describe the founding of institutions such as churches and schools, and contain biographical sketches of county residents.

    Most family histories were self-published in small runs and are fairly rare. The bulk of family histories published in the United States describes early Anglo-American families, because these families were the most popular subject for genealogical publishing before the 1970s. In the 1970s, the genealogical field broadened, and a more diverse group of Americans published their family history.

  • Local Histories & Family HistoriesWorldCat

    To locate a print history of

    A county:(name) county, (state) history(name) county, (state) biographyExample: Santa Clara County, California History or Santa Clara County, California - Biography

    A family:(Surname) familyExample: McCarty family

  • Local Histories & Family HistoriesFamily History Library catalog at

    Use the surname search option.

  • Exercise 3Locate a family history for the McCarty family who lived in Pocahontas County, West Virginia in HeritageQuest &

  • Cemetery RecordsWorldCatTo locate a print indexCounty, state - genealogy or perform a keyword searchExample: Santa Clara County, California GenealogyOr Jewish Cemeteries Istanbul


  • Immigration Research Passenger records

    Naturalization recordsColonial era to 1820: In these early period of immigration, passenger lists were fairly spare- they did not record a great deal of information about the immigrants.

    1820-1880: More manifests exist from this time period, and many were preserved and microfilmed by the National Archives.

    1880-1957: For this period, detailed manifests exist for most U.S. ports. Many of the records are available digitally through commercial and free websites.

    For the post-1820 era, researchers can see the original passenger lists on microfilm. The National Archives website at lists what records are available on microfilm.

  • Immigration ResearchEllis Island Database: Garden Database: Garden and Ellis Island were arrival stations for international passengers traveling to New York City. Castle Garden was active from 1855 to 1890, and Ellis Island served from 1892 to 1954.

  • Passenger Records on Ancestry.comAncestry has been aggressively digitizing the microfilmed passenger lists from the National Archives, covering the period of 1820-1957. These records are similar to those included in the Ellis Island database, but also cover other ports such as New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

  • Exercise 4What can we learn by reading a passenger record?

  • Naturalization RecordsNaturalization is the legal process whereby immigrants become citizens. The naturalization process changed over time in the U.S.

    Colonial Period: Naturalization was uncommon in this period. British subjects did not need to naturalize when coming to the American colonies. Some non-British immigrants did take an oath of allegiance to the British crown, and scattered records of those oaths exist.

    1790-1906: During this period, naturalization records were filed at a local court. Women automatically assumed their husbands naturalization status during this period, so few women are well documented in the naturalization records of this era.

  • Naturalization Records1906-1922: In 1906, the Federal government standardized the naturalization process under a new administrative body, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. Naturalization records from this period contain a great deal of information, including place of birth, date of birth, port and date of entry, name of ship, and names of spouses and children.

    1922-2002: In 1922, Congress passed a law ending the automatic naturalization of women married to naturalized citizens. This motivated more immigrant women to naturalize than in previous years. Otherwise, the naturalization process remained largely the same until 2002, when immigration and naturalization was placed under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Naturalization RecordsChristina Schaefers Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States is an essential reference work for locating where the records of a particular county or state are held.

  • Naturalization RecordsAnother option for researchers is to search for ancestors in foreign records prior to immigration. For example, if an ancestor immigrated from England in 1885, researchers can search for them in the 1881 British Census.

  • International (Offers some foreign Census records, Address Books, Discussion Boards etc.)

    Family History Library (Do a Place Name search to see whats available on microfilm)

    JewishGen (Great place for Jewish ancestry research worldwide)

    The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names Yad Vashem (Find Holocaust records)

    WorldCat (Search for print mat