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Some tips for avoiding stumbling blocks in your genealogy research

In the course of your genealogy research, you might occasionally hit snags. But some are completely avoidable.

Here are some pointers:

  • Use the internet to find out the hours of places like historical societies. You can’t just show up on a whim and expect it to be open. Call if necessary. Email the director if you can’t reach anyone else. You may need an appointment.
  • When looking for sources, use WorldCat.org, the online catalog of books found in thousands of libraries. You can confirm that books on your subject exist and where they can be found. Or you could just show up at the state’s archives (on the days it’s open) or a library to browse. But again, check the hours open.
  • County and state records are being digitized at FamilySearch.org. Check there, or at Ancestry.com, for any locality.
  • State research guides are published for almost every state. But it’s still up to you to purchase such a guide, find it in a library, or an online version.
  • Going to a location where your ancestors lived is good for background, but may not be the best way to research. You might be able to get more information researching at home online than going to that community’s library.
  • The secret is to prepare ahead of time.

South Carolina research news

The South Carolina Archives is on the northeast side of Columbia, out of downtown, just off the interstates. At scdah.sc.gov, Script is seeking volunteers to help index wills. See Research and Genealogy, and then Virtual Volunteers. The Historical Newspapers of South Carolina project — through the University of South Carolina Libraries, at historicnewpapers.sc.edu — is worth checking out. Other South Carolina newspapers are digitized on other sites, such as GenealogyBank.com.

Ancestry adds “Evaluate”

Ancestry.com’s DNA section now automatically adds the term “Evaluate” where two DNA matches have trees with discrepancies. It’s up to the DNA “cousins” to work it out.

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Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or gagensociety.org.