Massachusetts Genealogy Records

Professional Genealogists search these records:

Professional genealogists search genealogy records at numerous repositories in search of family history and ancestors.

Family genealogy can be discovered by searching these records:

One link that is very helpful for Massachusetts genealogy with its records organized by county, town and record type is ldsgenealogy.com/MA/.  The records that can be found on this site include the following:

  • Birth records
  • Cemetery records
  • Census  records
  • Church records
  • City directories
  • Death records
  • Genealogies
  • Historical records
  • Marriage records
  • Military records
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Vital records

Family history can be discovered by searching these records:

Another source is Family Search at http://bit.ly/kKGEuQ:

  • Records of the Family History library
  • Family history library catalog
  • Archives and libraries
  • Bible records
  • Biography
  • Cemeteries
  • Census
  • Church records
  • Court records
  • Directories
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Gazeteers
  • Genealogy
  • History
  • Land and property
  • Maps
  • Military records
  • Naturalization and citizenship
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Periodicals
  • Probate records
  • Societies
  • Taxation
  • Town records
  • Vital records
Posted in General |

Genealogy Researcher’s Technology Tool Box

Genealogy Researcher’s Worst Nightmare

As genealogy researchers we works diligently to collect our genealogy records.  The last thing any of us wants is to lose our data or not be able to access it.  We also want to keep it organized and be able to share it as needed.

Genealogy Researcher Management Suggestions

The following websites provide great options to help you manage your genealogy research materials.

  • GenSmarts – gensmarts.com – makes research suggestions based on the information that is in and not in your genealogy documents such as Family Tree Maker or RootsMagic.
  • Evernote – evernote.com – provides an offsite location for you to collect your notes and access them from any other computer as you travel.
  • Offsite backup options:
  • Dropbox – dropbox.com – provides an offsite location for you to store your genealogy files for access from any computers or to share with others.

The following websites provide you with offsite backup so you don’t lose your files in the event your computer crashes.

  • MozyHome – mozy.com
  • Carbonite – carbonite.com
  • IDrive – idrive.com

Feedback

  • Have you ever lost your files due to your computer crashing?
  • Have you ever been unable to access files when traveling?
  • Have you checked out these website and are they helpful?
Posted in genealogy, professional genealogy | Tagged

DO PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGISTS NEED TO BE LOCATED IN THE SAME REGION THEY ARE RESEARCHING GENEALOGY?

Recently, we had a potential client contact us about providing genealogy research services in Providence and Coventry, Rhode Island.  I was excited since we have an office about 4o miles away just over the border in Massachusetts that services our New England based genealogy research.  After telling him this he responded by saying, “…you are falsely advertising your expertise in Rhode Island genealogy research since you are not located in Providence, Rhode Island”. Wow, this really surprised me!

Even though I did not agree with his assessment I needed to try to understand why he felt this way.

  • Was he bothered by us not being located in Rhode Island?
  • Was the issue being over the border in Massachusetts?
  • Or was it the 40 miles?
  • What if we were 40 miles from Providence but within the state boundaries?
  • Or did we need to be smack in the middle of Providence?

How close is too far for genealogy research?

Now that is something Yogi Berra might ask!  To be located only 40 miles from a research location is rare for us since we do genealogy research all over the world.  To be criticized for not being closer made me wonder about physical proximity to the regions in which we research genealogy.

  • How often are professional genealogists criticized for being too far away to be effective?
  • Do professional genealogists feel that is a fair assessment?
  • Do professional genealogists feel their research abilities and resourcefulness are being minimized?
  • Do professional genealogists feel they can effectively do genealogy research from a distance?

Do the amateur genealogists understand that:

  • We travel to local family history centers and at times travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit the LDS family history library to view films from all over the world. Now that is going in the opposite directions for regions we research!
  • We have ways of accessing local records without actually traveling to those locations?

What are the expectations of our potential genealogy research clients?

I am left to wonder about the expectation of our potential clients and their basis in the current day reality of professional genealogists.  As I just mentioned, we do genealogy research all over the world, plus we also have an office in Denver.  How many genealogists have two offices?  We see this as a huge advantage since it doubles the regions we can cover in close physical proximity.  Does that mean that I am falsely advertising expertise in Colorado genealogy if I am researching in Colorado Springs which is more than 40 miles away?  The states are much larger in the west and Denver is much more than 40 miles away from the bordering states of:

  • Utah.
  • Wyoming.
  • Nebraska.
  • Kansas.
  • Oklahoma.
  • New Mexico.
  • Arizona.

And we effectively provide genealogy research services in those regions as well.

How are we successful researching genealogy all over the world?

Most of our clients have ancestors from many parts of the country as well as overseas and we are able to successfully research their genealogy without traveling to those destinations. Why?  Because we have the:

  • Knowledge of records available.
  • Knowledge of the information they contain.
  • Knowledge of where to search for them.
  • Knowledge of who to contact.
  • Resourcefulness to get it done.

Our knowledge and efforts have led to the ultimate satisfaction of our clients.

What is causing this concern?

Is this a throw back to before the internet which has made global communication so much easier?  Maybe!  But the reality of today is that it is not necessary to physically be in the particular location you are researching to successfully research genealogy.  However, unfortunately, there are those who have been led to believe this is the only way.

I am left to wonder from an earlier blog, if this another fallout of the TV program, “Who Do You Think You Are” that depicts wealthy celebrities traveling the world in search of their ancestors and meeting up with local historians and genealogists in search of records.  Is this what it is all about?  I have already gone on record regarding the unfortunate portrayal of genealogy research being done in this fashion and it’s affect on the expectations of the amateur genealogist.  While the program has great entertainment value, how many people can afford to travel the world searching for their ancestors?

Conclusion

We finished our conversation with him telling us he was going to try to find a genealogist located right in Providence.  Well, we followed up by explaining in more detail our knowledge of the records in the area and he responded back that if we could access a certain record he would hire us.  Now that is what it is all about!  His real concern was our ability to access certain records.  All we had to do was educate a potential client regarding our capabilities.

Feedback

  • Do you have the same concerns?
  • How close is too far?
  • Do you believe that your professional genealogist needs to be located in the same region you are researching?
  • Do you depend more on the professional genealogist’s knowledge, expertise, and resourcefulness to be successful?
  • Or is it all simply about being able to access local records?

 

Posted in General, professional genealogy research | Tagged

DO PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGISTS NEED TO BE LOCATED IN THE SAME REGION THEY ARE RESEARCHING GENEALOGY?

Recently, we had a potential client contact us about providing genealogy research services in Providence and Coventry, Rhode Island.  I was excited since we have an office about 4o miles away just over the border in Massachusetts that services our New England based genealogy research.  After telling him this he responded by saying, “…you are falsely advertising your expertise in Rhode Island genealogy research since you are not located in Providence, Rhode Island”. Wow, this really surprised me!

Even though I did not agree with his assessment I needed to try to understand why he felt this way.

  • Was he bothered by us not being located in Rhode Island?
  • Was the issue being over the border in Massachusetts?
  • Or was it the 40 miles?
  • What if we were 40 miles from Providence but within the state boundaries?
  • Or did we need to be smack in the middle of Providence?

How close is too far for genealogy research?

Now that is something Yogi Berra might ask!  To be located only 40 miles from a research location is rare for us since we do genealogy research all over the world.  To be criticized for not being closer made me wonder about physical proximity to the regions in which we research genealogy.

  • How often are professional genealogists criticized for being too far away to be effective?
  • Do professional genealogists feel that is a fair assessment?
  • Do professional genealogists feel their research abilities and resourcefulness are being minimized?
  • Do professional genealogists feel they can effectively do genealogy research from a distance?

Do the amateur genealogists understand that:

  • We travel to local family history centers and at times travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit the LDS family history library to view films from all over the world. Now that is going in the opposite directions for regions we research!
  • We have ways of accessing local records without actually traveling to those locations?

What are the expectations of our potential genealogy research clients?

I am left to wonder about the expectation of our potential clients and their basis in the current day reality of professional genealogists.  As I just mentioned, we do genealogy research all over the world, plus we also have an office in Denver.  How many genealogists have two offices?  We see this as a huge advantage since it doubles the regions we can cover in close physical proximity.  Does that mean that I am falsely advertising expertise in Colorado genealogy if I am researching in Colorado Springs which is more than 40 miles away?  The states are much larger in the west and Denver is much more than 40 miles away from the bordering states of:

  • Utah.
  • Wyoming.
  • Nebraska.
  • Kansas.
  • Oklahoma.
  • New Mexico.
  • Arizona.

And we effectively provide genealogy research services in those regions as well.

How are we successful researching genealogy all over the world?

Most of our clients have ancestors from many parts of the country as well as overseas and we are able to successfully research their genealogy without traveling to those destinations. Why?  Because we have the:

  • Knowledge of records available.
  • Knowledge of the information they contain.
  • Knowledge of where to search for them.
  • Knowledge of who to contact.
  • Resourcefulness to get it done.

Our knowledge and efforts have led to the ultimate satisfaction of our clients.

What is causing this concern?

Is this a throw back to before the internet which has made global communication so much easier?  Maybe!  But the reality of today is that it is not necessary to physically be in the particular location you are researching to successfully research genealogy.  However, unfortunately, there are those who have been led to believe this is the only way.

I am left to wonder from an earlier blog, if this another fallout of the TV program, “Who Do You Think You Are” that depicts wealthy celebrities traveling the world in search of their ancestors and meeting up with local historians and genealogists in search of records.  Is this what it is all about?  I have already gone on record regarding the unfortunate portrayal of genealogy research being done in this fashion and it’s affect on the expectations of the amateur genealogist.  While the program has great entertainment value, how many people can afford to travel the world searching for their ancestors?

Conclusion

We finished our conversation with him telling us he was going to try to find a genealogist located right in Providence.  Well, we followed up by explaining in more detail our knowledge of the records in the area and he responded back that if we could access a certain record he would hire us.  Now that is what it is all about!  His real concern was our ability to access certain records.  All we had to do was educate a potential client regarding our capabilities.

Feedback

  • Do you have the same concerns?
  • How close is too far?
  • Do you believe that your professional genealogist needs to be located in the same region you are researching?
  • Do you depend more on the professional genealogist’s knowledge, expertise, and resourcefulness to be successful?
  • Or is it all simply about being able to access local records?

 

Posted in General |

AMATEUR GENEALOGISTS BECOMING DISGRUNTLED WITH ANCESTRY.COM

THE GENEALOGY RESEARCH PROBLEM

We have received many calls from amateur genealogists who are disgruntled with ancestry.com causing them, unfortunately, to consider cancelling their subscriptions.  Their frustration revolves around not finding information easily, continually coming up with the same uneventful results, and therefore making no progress.  This is a very unfortunate situation since ancestry.com is a terrific resource for genealogy research records, but their advertising campaign has resulted in this self-inflicted wound.

THE REASONS – FOR THE GENEALOGY RESEARCH PROBLEM

There are a number of reasons for this that involves the combination of unrealistic expectations and naïveté on the part of the amateur genealogists and the inference from ancestry.com that it is easy to research your ancestry.  There is an old saying…”if it sounds like it is too good to be true, then it is”, meaning, you should not take their advertising campaign literally.  The reasons for the conflict:

Ancestry.com:

  • Their advertising campaign states that you don’t need to know what you are looking for before you start looking, leading some to believe it is easy and the results will fall into your lap.
  • Their advertising has stated you can connect other family trees to your tree if a green leaf appears in your family tree, leading some to believe this is how you do genealogy research.

Amateur Genealogists:

  • They assume it is going to be easy and don’t know how to properly search for genealogy records.
  • They are not experienced enough to know how to use ancestry.com’s records and their search engine.
  • They don’t understand that while ancestry.com has many records, they don’t have ALL of the records.
  • They don’t know how to research records in other repositories or that they even exist.

UNDERSTANDING THE MOTIVATIONS OF BOTH SIDES – IN THE GENEALOGY RESEARCH PROBLEM

An instrumental part of professional genealogy research is to evaluate the motivation of the informants (source of the information) to determine the credibility of the information provided.  In this case we have two informants, the amateur genealogist and ancestry.com.  One has to look at the motivations of both sides.

  • Amateurs genealogists want easy internet access to records for instant gratification, and if they don’t get it they get frustrated.
  • Ancestry.com understands this and promotes their website to meet this demand to gain subscribers to their website.

This unfortunately creates a vicious cycle of the simple sell for easy results, that leads to frustration through a lack of understanding and naiveté, and a lost customer.  In the end unfortunately, this does nothing to promote the accredited way of doing genealogy research which if done properly would probably create a lifetime customer.

This approach is exasperated by the TV program, “Who Do You Think You Are?”  While this program has high entertainment value, their producers provide an unrealistic portrayal of easy genealogy research.  They describe a process that promotes:

  • The viewing of original genealogy records.
  • A requirement for long distant travel to discover documents on site.
  • Information instantaneously appearing with no relevance to the actual process and number of hours of research time it takes to discover the records which just miraculously appear on their program.
  • The appearance of celebrities doing it on their own when in reality there are hundreds of hours of genealogy research put into each of these programs by profession genealogists.

This portrayal does an injustice to professional genealogists and the genealogy research process as a whole, and sets up unrealistic expectations on the part of amateur genealogists.  This again only creates a myth that it is easy which then results in frustration on the part of amateur genealogists when they discover it is not.

From personal experience, a relative in my family placed what he believes to be the family tree of our paternal line on ancestry.com.  The information he provided in this family tree has an inaccurate generation which therefore renders the remainder of the family tree incorrect.  This tree is not based on sound genealogy research methodology, but unfortunately, well over 400 other family trees have linked to this same incorrect tree on ancestry.com.  Family trees on ancestry.com should be viewed at best as a clue and then researched to be proven or disproven as a fit with your family tree.

THE REMEDY – FOR THE GENEALOGY RESEARCH PROBLEM

Amateur genealogists:

Be savvy and expect that it is going to take more effort to discover your ancestors and family history.  Do not believe that you can simply click on a green leaf and connect with another family that belongs to your family tree.

Learn how to effectively and accurately research genealogy records.

  • Determine the questions you need answered.
  • Learn about the types of records that are available in different geographic regions.
  • Learn what types of information each record can provide.
  • Develop a hypothesis and research plan involving these records.
  • Use ancestry.com as well as other databases and repositories as resources, and use sound genealogy research methodologies to determine the correct answers to your genealogy research questions.

Learn about the genealogy research process.   Understand that “The Genealogical Proof Standard” developed by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) http://www.bcgcertification.org/ is accepted as sound genealogical research methodology and is the basis for becoming a certified genealogist.  That is:

  • Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question.
  • Collect and include in the compilation a complete and accurate citation to the source or sources of each item of information collected.
  • Analyze and correlate the collected information to assess its quality as evidence.
  • Resolve any conflicts caused by items of evidence that contradict each other or are contrary to a proposed (hypothetical) solution to the question.
  • Arrive at a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

Gain genealogy research knowledge, and attend free lectures or seek knowledge at:

  • Local genealogy societies.
  • Local Family History Libraries through the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS).
  • Local genealogy libraries.
  • Local National Archives and Records Administrations (NARA) centers.
  • Conferences by genealogy societies and associations.
  • The Genealogical Standards Manual by The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).

Understand that researching your genealogy properly will result in placing individuals in your family tree that truly belong there, which will accurately describe your family history to your descendants for generations to come.

Ancestry.com:

Bring added credibility to the genealogy research community in a way that will create lifetime members in the genealogy professional by:

  • Promoting your terrific website as a resource for genealogy records to be used during the course of proper genealogy research practices.
  • Promoting your family trees only as clues or possibilities, and not as a place where you simply connect other family trees to yours.
  • Educating the amateur genealogists on proper genealogy research methodology.

FEEDBACK

  • Have you experienced these frustrations?
  • Has this blog helped motivate you to learn more about proper genealogy research techniques?
  • What do you think of this advice?

 

Posted in genealogy research, professional genealogy research | Tagged

Genealogy Proof Standard

Genealogy Source Citations

All professional genealogists should provide source citations to all of the genealogy research information they collect for your family history. As a consumer you should expect this service. To give credibility to your personal genealogical research it is very important to create a source citation that describes the source of the genealogy research information you discover and attach it to your genealogy research in the form of a footnote. Footnotes are best because it is located on the same page along with the genealogy research information you discover.

Basic Genealogy Source Citation Templates

There are a number of basic citation templates depending on the type of source such as:

  • online historical resources
  • ancestry.com databases and images
  • archival manuscripts
  • articles
  • books
  • censuses
  • electronic data
  • local government records
  • microfilm

Genealogy Research Quicksheets

These are available in the form of a “Quicksheet” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, or in the book “Evidence, Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, 1997.  These can be purchased on-line.

Simply put, the goal for citations is to lead the reader to exactly where you discovered your genealogical research source. Any genealogy research information that you find that does not have a source citation should be viewed as only a suggestion or a clue that requires followup genealogy research. Any information that is not considered common knowledge should have a source citation.

What do you think of this research standard?

  • Are citations important?
  • Are citations important to the researcher?
  • Are citations important to the client?
  • Are citations important for later finding the source of the information?
  • All of the above?
Posted in genealogy research, professional genealogy research | Tagged

Melick Professional Genealogists Launches New Website!

Melick Professional Genealogists, a genealogy research company based out of Colorado and Massachusetts, has launched their new website focusing on their expertise in genealogy research and family tree charts. Their experience providing genealogy research services extends all over the United States and worldwide. Their new website includes the beginnings of their new genealogy research resources that to date include over 5,500 genealogy resource links. In time this website will be home to over 25,000 links devoted to genealogy resources all over the world. The new website includes images of their genealogy research reports as well as genealogy charts to include a hover feature that zooms in on the images and also a slide show feature that allows easy browsing of the images. The genealogy research services and family tree charts are terrific gift ideas. Simply contact them at 303-898-8766 or email at info@melickgenealogists.com for a free no obligation consultation. Check them out at http://bit.ly/fMDjLp.

Posted in professional genealogy charts, professional genealogy research | Tagged

Professional Genealogists Create Ancestor Profiles

As professional genealogists we have the knowledge and expertise to create an ancestor’s profile whose information is not found through conventional genealogical research records.

We recently completed a phase of genealogy research for an individual who was born in 1869 and disappeared in 1912. He was not to be found in:

  • census
  • marriage
  • death
  • tax
  • land
  • probate records

We took a different approach to genealogy research by searching for and discovering evidence through indirect methods and determining his associations at cities we knew he lived in at certain times and researching the areas historical context. This profile defined what he did for a living, how lived and why he was difficult to find.

Our client was convinced he was a secretive and wayward individual who was unmotivated and drifted with the wind. What we discovered was that he was:

  • an attorney for the railroads working in mergers and acquisitions
  • taught school children when work was slow

In those days attorneys traveled with the railroads to get approvals from the appropriate local jurisdictions for the land assemblages and right-of-ways to make constructing the railroad possible. Therefore, he frequently boarded and left no probate record trail.

Understanding the historical context of where was living and how he fit into it was a critical element in our success. It is a powerful method of research when all else fails!

Posted in genealogy research, professional genealogy research | Tagged

Professional Genealogists Look Forward To The 1940 US Census!

Professional genealogists look forward to the release of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census which was conducted based on a census date of April 1, 1940. Given the seventy-two year privacy restriction, family historians will need to wait until April 1, 2012 to view the sixteenth census of the United States. The census counted a total of nearly 132.2 million people living in 48 states. This will unlock another 10 years of genealogy research information moving forward from the last avaible US Census in 1930!  See http://www.melickgenealogists.com/.

Posted in genealogy research, professional genealogy research | Tagged

Professional Genealogists Use Land Maps

If you know where your ancestors lived in the late 1800s, professional genealogists can sometimes find maps of the town with their names on their lot. Some like Ontario for example that shows every family in the town. This helps build a profile for your ancestor that includes their neighbors and possible some migrating friends that may provide clues or affirmations of their origination.  Here is a link to New England, Pennsylvania and New York maps: http://www.oldmapsne.com/

Posted in genealogy research, professional genealogy research | Tagged