Trying to get from Illinois to Ireland

 In my intro video for Irish Catholic genealogy, I listed three things I try to do when connecting my Irish-American ancestors to their family in Ireland: Remind myself that every name will have multiple individuals. Narrow it down to one townland. Find at least one more supporting fact. Now…

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Probate: Guardianship isn’t about custody

Probate documents are one of the best primary source documents, but they’re also one of the most complicated. Where I see the most confusion, though, is understanding guardianship, especially in Colonial and early Republic probate proceedings. If you want to dig deeper, I recommend spending some time at “Bob’s Genealogy…

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Primary Sources: US Death Certificates

  Primary sources are the documents that genealogists strive to find because they are created contemporaneously with a given event. But that doesn’t always mean they’re correct. You have to understand how the document is created, by whom, and for what purpose, to assess the accuracy of its information. Death…

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My core principles for genealogy research

I’m mapping out what I hope will be a long-running Youtube channel about genealogy, and that’s making me think about the core principles that I try to follow when researching my kids’ ancestors. I’ve got four: It’s not about the information in the document, it’s about the people who filled…

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How to use Irish civil registration indices

If you use Ancestry.com to research your Irish ancestors, you’ve probably encountered civil registration records that list three-month or one-year time-spans for an event such as birth, marriage or death. Believe or not, that date doesn’t show when your ancestor was born, married or died. For example, I found an…

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Irish surnames

If you have Irish Catholic ancestors like me, you have probably hit a wall once you reach Ireland. When Conan O’Brien had “Who do you think you are” producer Lisa Kudrow as a guest on his show in 2015, Kudrow said “Irish Ancestry is tough, because… you all have the…

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Drawbacks to Find-a-grave’s “non-cemetery burials”

Already watched my Genealogy 201 video about Find-a-grave? Here’s a tip about how to assess the validity of Find-a-grave’s “non-cemetery” burial memorials, as well as an advanced technique to crack into Ancestry.com’s search indices. There is one type of Find-a-grave memorial that I almost always reject: non-cemetery burials, which includes…

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