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Genealogy Get-Together Presentations

Posted by Michael Gorzka on February 17th, 2017

These downloadable presentations — Genetic Genealogy and Getting More from FamilySearch — were provided by Lynne Holland from the first two February Genealogy Get-togethers at Curtis Memorial Library. If you weren’t able to attend they provide a great overview of the classes.

Click here to download Genetic Genealogy.

Click here to download Getting More from FamilySearch.

(Note: If you need help downloading these presentations, please contact Michael Gorzka at

The next Genealogy Get-together will be held on Thursday, February 23 at 5:30pm in the library’s Seminar Room and will focus on “Technology Tools to Help Your Genealogy Research”. There will also be a class held on Thursday, March 2 at 5:30 on “Brick-wall Problem Solving Ideas”. Please plan to join us for both dates.


Search versus Research

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on January 20th, 2017

The webinar that I took today was about becoming a “genealogy detective”.  Essentially it focused on some of the more advanced tools that genealogists can employ to finding missing facts and ancestors.

My favorite point was when the speaker talked about the difference between a genealogy “search” and genealogy “research”.  As someone who is happy to dive into an internet search without much rhyme or reason (with predictable results), this concept particularly spoke to me.

A search is basically what I just described – jumping into the internet or any other resource with a very general idea of what you want (I’ll see if I can find anyone named Joe Smith who lived in Kansas in 1890).  You get one result and go off down that path.  Then you find another result and go off down that path.  By the time you are done, you are frustrated and can’t even remember the sources you looked at and what you learned!

Research is very different.  Research is the process of defining a very specific problem that you want to research (I want to find out the date of birth of my grandmother).  You relook at all of the information you already have and confirm it.  Then, you make a list of new potential records to check and alternative records that might provide clues.  Finally, you incorporate FAN (friends, associates, neighbors) research to identify if there are clues there.  Basically, research is a methodical, carefully thought out process that looks at all available information possibilities, not just the obvious ones.

I intend to go back to my current search focus and define a research process that is much more careful and intentional than what I’ve done in the past.  Who knows?  I might actually learn something!  Happy research.

Tips to Help Organize

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on January 13th, 2017

I just took a webinar about organizing your genealogy research, something that I know is challenging for everyone doing genealogy.  I think it is even more challenging in the digital world because I’m never sure whether I should be saving paper AND digital copies OR one OR the other.  The webinar did not answer that question but it did have a few good points that I thought I would share.

The first point that I liked was to pick one type of material to organize and focus on it.  In other words organize your paper or your books or your digital records or your photographs.  Don’t start and try to do them ALL at the same time.  You’ll never get anything done.

Once you have identified your area of focus do an inventory.  What materials do you have?  Put together a list or a spreadsheet.  When you know the extent of what you have it becomes easier to “see” an organizing system that makes sense to you.

The next step is then to decide how to organize.  I like to organize by surnames.  Some options might include color coding by family name, develop a numbering system, or organizing families on a timeline by starting with the oldest family member you can find (ancestors of John Q. Smith), etc.

The speaker talked about a numbering system and even though I have never done that, I liked the concept.  Her point was that if you develop an index of the  numbering system, it becomes very easy to find the person you want whereas if you try to simply use last names, it can become hard to find the person you want because so many individuals carried family names down through generations.

The speaker also did address the paper/digital issue a bit.  She suggested that however you organize one should be the same process you use for the other.  That way you aren’t trying to keep two different methods of organization in your head.

Finally, she emphasized the  need to store original materials away from outside walls (the fluctuation in temperature is much less on inside walls in your house); keep newspaper stored away from other types of paper because the acid in newspaper can leach into other types of paper; and finally, schedule one day on a regular basis to maintain your genealogy materials.

I hope these are helpful tips – happy research!

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