African-American Genealogy Research

There’s no question that an enormous brick wall faces most African-American researchers because of the lack of readily available information especially in the lack of census records during the era of slavery.

Kimberly Powell of Genealogy has listed her top ten online sites for African-American genealogy research at this link:

Research Rule #2

James Tanner‘s Rule No. 2 (Focus on more recent sources and documents before you try to jump back in time) for genealogical research is pretty powerful but his rules one and three are absolutely key to getting started (or restarted) on your family research.

You can take all three in (and perhaps put them on the wall to look at over and over again) at his blog Genealogy’s Star at this link:

“Family History When the Power Is Out”

By Ancestry Weekly Discovery 29 July 2011
Editor: Juliana Smith

While my job is to share my experience in family history with you through this newsletter, I’ve learned much from you over the years as well. So to continue this newsletter in the spirit of sharing experiences, here are a few more tips that you sent in.

Family History When the Power Is Out
We have come to depend more and more on our computers for doing genealogy. We get online to find our information. We use our word processors to create timelines, lists, and indexes that capture that information.

But what to do when those severe summer thunderstorms or winter snowfalls deprive us of power? It was during a period of this forced downtime that I was prompted to make a folder in my filing cabinet titled “Projects That Need No Computer” after an outage when I was alone in the house and there was no one to annoy with suggestions of playing Yahtzee or Rummy. When my power goes out, I can pull out the folder and choose from the following tasks:

Filing is always first on the list. I tend to let things stack up when I’m in the middle of a project, so this is the perfect time to file away those items that I’ve printed out.

Labeling photos. I have a lot of photos that I need to label, but compared to the stuff I do on the computer, photo labeling seems like drudgery. This is the time to get some of it done!

Organizing research logs and notes. I am always scribbling down or printing out research suggestions and notes from various online sources. These usually get shoved into a research file in my filing cabinet for whatever county they pertain to. I use this time to organize those notes. My research logs can also get rather haphazard, so I use this time to organize them as well.

Timelines. I often create my timelines during this downtime. It forces me to use the information that I have at hand; no getting sidetracked by trying to find more information to fill in the blanks right then and there. It also forces me to make more concise lists of what I need for each person.

Organize my wish-list of books. I have a file folder of book titles that I long to have. I go through this folder and see what books I still want, what books I have obtained and didn’t bother to mark off the list, and what books no longer have the significance I thought they would.

Transcribing census records. I pull out family binders to see if there are any census records that I was remiss in transcribing. I can usually find one or two.

Reading over archived information. I’ve come across information that “didn’t quite fit” into my family lines, but I printed and saved them because you never know what will turn up. I take this file out and read over the pages again. Sometimes I find something buried in the lines that resonates with new information I’ve uncovered.

This list sure helps the time pass more quickly!

Jolynn Noel Winland

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How to Handle Glut of Research Info Online

” I seem to get sidetracked easily and overwhelmed with all of the family. Is there any other tool or resource that you utilitze to keep focused and organized?”

This is a question from a friend from my years as a public school teacher. I thought I would share my answer.

You have run into the problem all genealogy researchers run into sooner or later. In fact, it never entirely goes away. There is too much info which is obviously relevant, might be relevant, or which you want to explore further whenever you research. It becomes a problem of keeping focus on your original goal. Here are some things I do:
1. Have a specific stated research goal such as a person, events, or family. (Family might be too broad. It depends.) Just browsing can be valuable but it leads to that scatter shot problem you referred to.
2. Take many, many notes. Don’t trust your memory. When online, I take them on the computer.
3. For note-taking, I keep note-taking software open. I usually use a simple, free program called Quotepad. There are some which really automate the process, but I don’t use them. The other thing I do if I don’t use note-taking software is to keep my word processor open. Then I copy and paste info and its url and other citation data into the word processing document. Later I go in and separate the data further into surname or individual person files.
4. I also have started using a free tool called Instapaper which makes it possible to go back and see an entire web page.
At that, I still have the problem you describe. I just try to stay focused.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions.

Free webinar you can attend today

This is late notice, but this webinar is free and coming up at 2:00 today on a computer near you. Here’s the reminder email I got this morning:


You are receiving this email because you requested that remind you when select shows are about to air.
Show Details:
Show: Bringing Technology to Your Genealogy Society
Date/Time: May 21, 2011 2:00 PM EDT
Listen: Click to listen .
Or copy and paste the link below:

And do not forget, if you want to call in live and speak with the host, be sure to dial (619)638-8565. You will be placed into the caller queue where you will still be able to hear the show while you are on hold.

If you miss this above event you can listen to the archive anytime by clicking on the same link above.

Enjoy the show,

The BlogTalkRadio Team

Some Handy Research Links

New FREE research links were brought to the group at the April meeting by Vice-president Dorothy Harbin.

At the GLO link, land records and homesteading grants are displayed with information about location and individual for those in land grant states.

Dorothy also shared a link in which she was able to download a copy of separation papers for an individual. While unable to find that exact link at, you can find others such as enlistment papers whose search page is at this link:,sl

DNA Test Sale

Recently received from Courtney of the Hunt List archives:
FTDNA is having a “Facebook sale”!/event.php?eid=166119860113271

I’ve been told the code will work whether you use Facebook or not

To take advantage of these promotional prices use the coupon code:
DNADAY2011 during the order process

The coupon code will expire on Friday at midnight (CT).



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