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Category: Research Tips

Declaration of Independence

Five Myths About American Independence Day

This week, on the fourth of the month, we celebrate the United States’ Independence from Great Britain. But, as with much of history, there is a difference between truth and tradition. Here are a few. The Declaration of Independence Was Signed on July 4, 1776 No lesser personages than Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas…
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Juneteenth Memorial Monument at George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, Texas.

Juneteenth 2019

Juneteenth is the oldest memorial observed across the country to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. The comes from the combination of June Nineteenth, when Major Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and the quarter-million slaves in Texas were finally freed. The celebration began in…
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Stonewall 50 logo

Honoring Our LGBTQ Ancestors

As we celebrate 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, this year’s LGBTQ Pride Month is more significant than ever. It is a well-established fact that ever since there have been humans on the earth, there have been LGBTQ people. Noted historian John Boswell traced our history from our unions in Greco-Roman times to the Church-sanctified…
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The Reluctant DNA Match

We’ve all been there. You open up your account and see new DNA matches. You find one that is relatively close. You excitedly jot off a note, explaining who you are, what you believe the relationship is (if you know it) or how you might be related, and your willingness to share information. Then you…
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Slavery in French Canada

As we’ve discussed before, Americans often think of a slavery as an institution only of the American south. But slavery was a scourge felt around the world to one extent of another. This includes our French-Canadian ancestral home. Slavery’s roots in Canada pre-date European settlement. Indigenous tribes used captured member of other tribes as slaves.…
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The Amazing Race logo

Genealogy’s Amazing Race

I’m not a huge fan of “reality” television. Much of it has nothing at all to do with reality. And as much as these programs claim to be unscripted, it is painfully obvious how scripted many of them truly are. Worse is much much influence producers can have on the final outcome, going against the…
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Football field goalposts.

How Do You Know You’ve Reached Your Research Goal?

It sounds like a perfectly reasonable question. “Have you met your research goal?” The answer to such questions, however, can often be far more difficult to ascertain than you initially thought. To wart, the goal must be very specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. It must be possible to look at the goal and give…
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Seasons of Genealogy: 131,400 Minutes In

Back at the beginning of January I posted about goals and resolutions and setting yourself up for success with your genealogical research in 2019. As difficult as it may be to believe, the first quarter of the year is in the history books. So have you done so far? (If you missed that post, go…
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Front cover of Spell it Out!

Understanding English

You never know when you are going to bump into a valuable resource for your research. When I was in London a few years ago, I was researching at the British Library. While waiting for a friend, I was perusing the gift shop and found a wonderful book that has proven very important to me.…
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Underwater image of the remains of one of the drowned towns.

Extinct Localities

Locations play an important role in researching our ancestors. Knowing where our ancestors lived directs us to places to find the records that document their lives. While these locations are often easy to identify, it is important to research the area. Because you might find yourself in a situation where, to paraphrase The Princess Bride,…
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