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Never give up!

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on April 29th, 2016

never-give-upIn my last blog I said I was giving up on my particular genealogy brick wall for a period of time in the hope that I might have new ideas about how to move past that brick wall and that new data might show up.

Well, as usual the genealogy gods had other ideas.  The day after I wrote that blog I got an email through from a cousin (from the part of the family tree that was a brick wall) that had been identified via an Ancestry DNA test.  I had sent off an email to that person but had not heard back from the cousin and had forgotten about the email.

My cousin directed me to some additional family information, confirmed some facts, and gave me ideas for new research directions.  So, I’m off to the races again!  I’m sharing this little story just to confirm what everyone in genealogy says – don’t give up because every day new information is found and shared.  DNA testing alone opens up all sorts of options.  I’m here to tell you that it is all true!  Happy research!

Running the Genealogy Marathon

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on April 15th, 2016

(Hopkinton, MA 04/21/14) Women's Elite line up at the start of the 2014 Boston Marathon. Photo by Faith Ninivaggi

I just got an email from the New England Historic Genealogical Society with the headline “Genealogical Research is a Marathon, Not a Sprint”.  Then they suggested I buy some useful books to help in the marathon.

I’m not really interested in buying genealogy books at the moment but the headline resonated with me.  I’ve been “stuck” in the same place in my family research for a long, long time and I’m trying to figure out how to move forward in my genealogy “marathon”.   Plus, Monday is the Boston Marathon in which my niece is running so I’ve got “marathon” on the mind!

For those of you stuck in the same place, I thought I would share my plan for moving forward in case it might be helpful.

First, I’m going to stop researching the branch of the family tree where I’m stuck.  I’m going to take all the files associated with that research and put them in the closet for at least six months.  Why?  I’m hoping that a break might give me some perspective and help me figure out a new way to approach my brick wall.  Plus, in six months who knows what new information might be available online.

Second, I’m going to pick a new part of my family tree (far away from the problem part of my research) and start focusing on that.  I need to find the fun in my research again and there is nothing better than solving a new mystery.

Third, I’m going to start teaching myself more about genetic genealogy.  I’m fascinated by the subject but during the course of a conversation today with the library’s genealogy volunteer, Lynne Holland, I realized just how much I don’t know.  So, I’m going to shake out some of my genealogy cobwebs by learning something new.

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Happy research!

What Was There

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on April 8th, 2016

WhatWas-thereI’ve been reading the most recent issue of Family Tree Magazine (which you can read for free in the Genealogy Room at Curtis Library – look for it on the counter on the left as you go into the room).   I read the magazine because I’m always looking for new ways to do my genealogy research and they frequently have good ideas.

This month one of the articles was titled “Breaking Out – Reap the rewards of expanding your online family history research to these 23 not-just-for-genealogy websites”.  I’m aware of many of the websites they mentioned but of particular interest was  The goal of this website is to “build a photographic history of the world” (no small objective!)  People can pin photos and pictures, to a map driven by Google Maps.

So, if your family research regularly is focused on Maine you can go in and look at the historical pictures from Maine, uploaded by individuals.  The person who uploads the photos can put in tags and descriptors and you can click on the “Google Street View” to see what the same place looks like today.

There are photos from around the world which makes the site particularly interesting and useful.  I haven’t found anything of specific use to my research yet but I’m having a lot of fun checking out the site.  I would definitely recommend taking the time to look it over.  If nothing else you’ll have fun and who knows what you might discover in your great-grandmother’s hometown?  Happy research!

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