Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Your Genealogy Today (May/June 2016) contains several articles of likely interest to our genealogists:

The Genealogical “Hail Mary” Search: The author notes that many persons researching German ancestors have trouble discovering the name of the place in Germany where those ancestors lived. He believes that some of those persons could solve that genealogical riddle by making use of surname distribution maps. Such maps will prove especially useful for persons researching ancestors with uncommon surnames, although they offer the potential to help anyone researching an elusive German ancestor. The author discusses three online surname distribution maps (two free, one subscription).

Gaelic Prefix Surnames: If you have puzzled over some of the surnames you’ve encountered while researching ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, this article should at last set you straight. Now you’ll know the meaning of the surname prefixes Ap, De, Fitz, Gil, Kil, and O’; and the (surprisingly slight) difference between Mac and Mc.

Solving Mysteries in Cemeteries: The author notes that cemeteries are often critical sources of information for genealogists. Knowledge about gravestone iconography and conventions can sometimes lead to breakthroughs that jump start our genealogical research.

Interpreting DNA Test Results: First the bad news: it can be difficult to determine the relationhip between two persons who are not immediate family members using only the results of a DNA test. The author notes that first cousins can often vary greatly in terms of how many centimorgans (cM) they share. But DNA tests can provide a good place to begin your research--and traditional genealogical research methods can then help you convert possible relatives into definite relations. 

AMERICAN ANCESTORS (Spring/Summer 2016)

American Ancestors (Spring/Summer 2016) contains several articles of likely interest to our genealogists:

Choosing the Right Genealogical Software for You: The author believes that choice of genealogical software is very much an idiosyncratic decision. Features on a given program that you consider crucial for a genealogy application may well be dismissed by another user as “bells and whistles.” The author does note some essential features that every genealogy application ought to have, and then provides a handy Genealogical Software Comparison Chart.

Becoming More Expert in Genealogy: The author explains how a change in perspective has made genealogical research easier for him. While “brick walls” used to be a source of great frustration, he notes that they seem easier to solve now that he views them as a chance to become “more expert” on a particular genealogical topic. He discusses several approaches he’s developed that usually help him solve genealogical riddles.

Using Satellite Imagery to Connect the Past with the Present: a Case Study: The author notes that advances in technology mean that genealogists have numerous mapping tools that they can use to provide family histories with a unique visual dimension that can’t be conveyed by words alone. He illustrates his point by discussing how he used various mapping tools to research his mother’s Danish-Prussian lineage.

First to Enlist: Researching a Family Civil War Story: We’ve all got (or have heard) genealogical tall tales: Great-Grandma was a Cherokee princess; our family name was changed at Ellis Island; our family is related to (name a celebrity) in some fashion. Such tales are usually fairly easy to disprove, but sometimes doing so requires a fair bit of research. The author discusses his quest to determine if his great-great uncle was the first man to enlist in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Has our Fantasy Maps exhibit made you curious about maps and mapmakers? We've got lots of maps at the Library, and numerous books about the people who make them--click on the image for more information.


Click on the image to find out how you can access Library materials from your easy chair.