Happy New Year!
If one of your New Year’s resolutions involves getting back into tackling your family tree, or exploring it for the first time, here are five tips to assist you as you work to connect the dots between you and your ancestors.
- Start with what you know and interview family members.
It may be helpful to jot down names, dates, relationships, and places of birth, or any other information which may be pertinent to your research. Having a documented record of this information will help to avoid attaching the wrong people or records to your family tree, as it is not uncommon for people living the same area to have the same or similar names, etc.
Interviewing family members may also provide valuable genealogical knowledge as you begin your research. This is also a great way to better understand the lives of your relatives.
- Form a research question.
Sometimes, genealogy can be overwhelming. It is difficult to know which side of the family to begin researching first, which databases to use, and how to record your findings. So, it may be helpful to focus the scope of your research by forming research questions as you move through the exploration of your family tree.
Research questions can focus on identity or relationship, for example:
Question of Identity: Is Jane Smith, born 1885 in Kenton County, the same person as Jane Smith living in Hamilton, Ohio in 1940?
Question of Relationship: Is Jane Smith, born 1885 in Kenton County, the mother of John Smith, born 1905, in Kenton County?
- Identify your sources.
The next tip is to locate the sources and records which may be helpful to your research goals.
A great way to begin is to check out the FamilySearch Wiki for the area which you are researching. Here is the link for the Kenton County Wiki. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Kenton_County,_Kentucky_Genealogy
This page provides information about which records are available for the area and how to access them.
- Explore the library’s online databases to assist with your research!
To do this, select ‘Genealogy’ under the ‘For Everyone’ tab on our website. On this page, you will be able to view the full listing of the databases and resources that we have available to assist you with your research.
Research Tools: This listing below illustrates several of the databases that we have available and how they may help with genealogical research.
Ancestry: With access to the Ancestry database, you can search census, birth, marriage, death, city directories, immigration records, and much, much more.
FindMyPast: This site has a vast collection of Kentucky birth, marriage, and death records.
Fold3: This database is great for military research! This database allows you to search military service records, stories, photos, and personal documents. Collections are searchable by name, military conflict, and type of record.
MyHeritage: MyHeritage is a company with an international reach and it is one of the most diverse databases with billions of records available to search. Records include birth, marriage, and death, census records, newspapers, the Social Security Death Index and much more.
Faces & Places: This is our photograph database where over 100,000 historical photos of Northern Kentucky are available to view and search!
Newspaper Databases: We have several databases which offer historical (and current) newspaper articles. Newspaper articles can contain birth announcements, obituaries, records of marriages, and much more information to supplement your genealogy research. Our newspaper databases include the Kentucky Post, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Newspaper Archive, our Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index, and more.
- Make an appointment for a virtual one-on-one or to visit the library to explore our in-person resources!
Give us a call at the Local History and Genealogy department (859.962.4070) to reserve a time for your one-hour virtual one-on-one appointment! One-on-one appointments may be held over the phone or through an online virtual meeting. We will be glad to assist with research questions, discuss resources and search strategies, or help with a genealogical brick wall.
We also have great microfilm and archival materials to assist with your research – give us a call to set-up a time to utilize our in-person resources.
If you have questions about any of our resources or databases, please contact us at the Local History and Genealogy Department, 859.962.4070, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.