How to videos

Five-minute Genealogy

Over the years, I’ve developed some basic principles about how to avoid mistakes while researching my family’s ancestry. These principles aren’t things I’ve learned in classes or in books–they’re lessons learned from the many, many mistakes I’ve made. In my YouTube channel, Five Minute Genealogy, I try to share these tips and tricks in brief videos.


Document types Genealogy relies on primary source documents, but there are a lot of types of documents. In this series, I describe how to use existing, synthesized research, as well as dig into some of the different types of primary source documents available.
Finding and understanding probate docs In this six video series, I cover how to find probate documents, what kind of documents to expect, and how to interpret them. I also dig into how the historical reality of guardianship diverges from our view today. Finally, I use a case study to show how intestacy laws can prove lineage.
Common mistakes Another genealogy YouTuber presented a nice video on common mistakes. I expanded on it, creating detailed topics for each mistake, and how I handle them.
Understanding death certificates There’s more to death certificates than just names and dates.
Researching Irish ancestors I’m almost 100% Irish Catholic, and I’ve learned a lot about how to research Irish Catholic ancestors.
Find-a-grave Find-a-grave is a great resource, but because it’s crowd-sourced, it’s hard to separate hard fact (what’s on the gravestone) from research that may be sketchy. This series shows you how to use Find-a-grave wisely. As my first foray into YouTube, the production quality is low, but the content is still high.