I sure hope that everyone received the gifts they were expecting for the Christmas holiday. For avid genealogists I know that can mean only one thing — a new discovery on a difficult family line!
Well then again that does not always happen no matter how hard we wish for a new discovery to push our research lines farther and farther back.
So now with New Year’s rapidly approaching maybe your alternative for next year is to roll up your sleeves and make a New Year’s resolution to re-examine all of the data you may have on one of your more difficult research lines for which you have not made any progress recently.
Now is a great time of the year when the snows of winter may have made it easier for us to stay inside rather than continue to pursue out of the home research in various facilities. Now is the time to review what we may have previously discovered and how new pieces of information may finally allow us to break through in a big way on one of our troubled research lines.
Here are some simple things to do to see if you can discover something new to allow you to break through your research brick walls:
- Take a look at your established paper trails for a particular individual you are having trouble with. I can’t tell you how many times I have noticed something in what I may already have in my possession. The light bulb may not have previously lit up but taking another look at paperwork you may have may certainly trigger the bulb to light up this time.
- Re-visit the online databases from which you may have already received some information. These databases are constantly being added to. Perhaps the data you needed in the past was simply not in the database at the time because it may have only been 50% completed. Maybe the database is not 80% completed and the one piece you need is now there. But you won’t know unless you routinely re-visit these databases.
- A brand new database may have added on since you last visited at a popular site like Ancestry or Footnote. If you subscribe to these keep returning to these sites to see what is new. If you don’t subscribe personally to them at home, then come on in to our library and use them in our library. We subscribe to them here, but subscription limitations do not allow us to make these available to you from home as a benefit of being a Schaumburg Township District Library card holder.
- Talk over your troubled line with a collaborative researcher, perhaps one of the many cousins you have discovered. Multiple heads are better than one because new perspectives may come to the surface. Individually we may not be able to see things in a different way. The opinions of another researcher may shed light on a research problem that we were simply not able to see ourselves.
- Take a look at the growing data being placed online form the Mormons at their Pilot Search project at their web site at FamilySearch.org. More and more of their films are being digitized and made available for free online. You can actually do your search online because the film data has been indexed and if you get a hit, you can often link directly to the image of the data itself and save it to your computer. The data being made available is from worldwide, not just the United States. Keep you ears open to the progress being made through this project and take a look at the data to see what may be there for you to make a break through in your research.
- Consider hiring a professional for the one area of your difficulty. For all of the time that has not been productive for you, it may actually help you to spend some money for a professional to maybe deliver to you the one piece of information you have sought for years. Once a professional brings a breakthrough you may discover that all of your research will have accelerated. Consider this option even though it may cost you some money.
Sometimes no matter how hard we try, making these break throughs may still not happen! Being angry and discouraged may only take you to the next 5 minutes! But you still have the problem.
Try some of the above actions to see if anything new pops up from which you can build upon. Keep plugging away at your brick wall problem and see if you can loosen up a few bricks by trying some of the above actions.
Maybe next year may be the year of the long-awaited discovery!
Schaumburg Township District Library
I want to thank those that have left comments to date on the posts that I have done since I started the blog.
Looking at the comments and deciding what to do with them is also part of learning the blogging process. So far, so good! All the comments I have received have been have been good and have been allowed to be posted. Should a post comment seem inappropriate, I have the choice to review it and allow it or delete it. I don’t expect to have to do anything like that but WordPress allows me to screen comments in advance before allowing them to show up on the blog.
I encourage comments and I can also respond to them if needed which is another nice feature.
Thanks again to all that have taken the time to leave their comments.
I appreciate that you have taken time to express your thoughts.
Schaumburg Township District Library
Please take a look at the right side of the blog page.
You will now see that we added a WordPress Widget to create an archives of our posts. You will now see them categorized by the month they were created. You often find this as “standard” on most blogs. I just wanted to make it easier to look at posts over a given span of months.
The other new category you will see on the right side of our blog is the “Newsletter” category. In this section you will now be able to find PDF images of the Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter that I create each month. In this newsletter you will find some of the following information on a month to month basis:
- Our feature program for the following month.
- Information on numbers of participants at our programs and the number of surnames these participants are researching.
- A list of “short” and “timely pieces of genealogical news, often originating from Dick Eastman’s genealogy blog.
- Upcoming program information for the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists, Du Page County Genealogical Society and the Computer Assistance Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois.
- An “Internet” section often containing longer items of interest that apply to news items that pertain to the Internet, often coming from the Dick Eastman genealogy blog.
- A “Periodical Section” in which I summarize some of the recently added genealogical journals we may have just received into our collection. This is a great place to see what articles appear in these journals so you will know to read the entire article that could help with your own research.
- A “Books in Print” section in which I make note of recently added genealogy books to our collection.
- A “Software/Hardware” section in which I make note of items of interest that are software or hardware related that can have some impact on your genealogical research or methodology. These items often come from the Dick Eastman genealogy blog.
- A “Funny Bone” section in which I like to include some form of genealogical humor.
- A “Calendar” section in which I like to include known local upcoming genealogical programs, including that of our library, for up to one year out into the future.
The newsletter was one of the handouts I included at our monthly genealogy programs. I plan on making this newsletter available on the blog so I can stop making paper copies for handouts and for mailing.
You should easily be able to look at the newsletter from our blog or even print it up for your own reading at leisure. I caution you that our newsletter is often at least 30+ pages each month. So you may want to think about printing it! But at least you will now know you can look at it here via the blog. It is also hyperlinked so you can quickly move within the newsletter to the sections highlighted. You can also visit the web site links that are contained in the newsletter.
So I do have a lot of “stuff”” developing with the blog that I am just learning and beginning to feel comfortable with. Be patient with me as my “blogging” skills improve over time.
A big thanks to Kris in our Reference Department for guiding me through this blogging process!
Keep coming back to our blog to find new and interesting parts.
Thanks for visiting.
Schaumburg Township District Library
I hope all of you noticed our library’s new web page. It just became effective on December 1, 2009. As with anything new, you will have to take a look at the web site and re-orient yourself to what looks different from your previous visit. It can be frustrating to have to re-learn where things are, but be patient and give it a chance to filter into your fingers doing some different keying.
I want you to be sure to see the list of upcoming programs we feature on the main web page, our monthly genealogy program being one of them. You can always take a look at what is happening at our genealogy program by just clicking on the links.
Our genealogy program for tonight’s program on December 8, 2009 is right at the top of the current list of programs on our main page.
This is one of the new features that allows you to see our upcoming programs automatically posted one week in advance of their occurring. You can see our upcoming genealogy programs for at least one year into the future through this calendar of programs that appears on our newly designed web site.
I am in the near term adding new program description material into the system for the next year. I only have our current program for December 2009 and the program for January 2010 entered in with the very detailed program description. You will see placeholders for months out into the future for 2010 but the detailed program description has not been updated yet.
I am very excited about this new great feature because it allows me to be very detailed in how I describe a program and also that I know that one week in advance of the program you will automatically see our genealogy program as well as other programs for the week posted at our website for your review.
For those of you brave enough to slosh through another snow storm, we may see you at tonight’s program.
If we don’t see you then we wish you Happy Holidays!
Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Coordinator