Big changes have come to — all content is now read-only, and member subscriptions and the Shop have been discontinued.
Learn more
New? Start Here
Genealogy How-To
 Getting Started
 Getting Organized
 Developing Your Research Skills
 Sharing Your Family's Story
 Reference Guide
 Biography Assistant
Free Genealogy Classes
 Beginning Genealogy
 Internet Genealogy
 Tracing Immigrant Origins

Family Finder
First Name:

Expert Tips Archive

  Just getting started on your research? Puzzled by a particularly elusive ancestor? Our archive of expert advice is here to answer your research questions.

Other weekly columns:
Overheard on the Message Boards
News and Research Tips in "Twigs & Trees"

Search all of our previous columns:
Nov 05, 2003 Danish Research, Finding a Birth Date, Defining an Abstract, Grandma Morgan
Oct 05, 2003 Birth Certificates in Portugal, Searching for Slave Records, Canadian Records, Am I Looking for a Widow?
May 29, 2003 Can't Find Father's Family, Confused by Source Citation, Creating a GEDCOM of Partial Family File, Which Is My Immigrant
May 22, 2003 Researching Name Found in a Bible, Double First Cousins, Descended of Kings, Looking for Census and Tax Lists
May 15, 2003 No Maiden Name, Just Getting Started, Determining Place of Marriage, Understanding My Online Census Subscription
May 08, 2003 Finding Father of Richard Pomeroy, World War I Military Records, Immigrant to Boston, Want It Online
April 24, 2003 1900 U.S. Census, Viewing Family Tree Maker GED Files, Sequence of Names, What's the Difference
April 17, 2003 Trouble Starting, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, No Death Place in SSDI, Other Ports of Entry
April 10, 2003 Privacy for the Living, Restricted Films at the FHL, 1960 Census, Lost User Pages
April 03, 2003 Castle Garden, Born at Sea, No Family through Ellis Island, The 1890 Census
March 27, 2003 Getting Started in African American Research, From Word to Family Tree Maker, Info. on Bottom of 1930 Census, Can't Find in Census Search
March 13, 2003 Social Security Records, Grand Aunt or Great Aunt, Tracing an Old Business, How to Edit Someone Else's Tree
February 27, 2003 Trying to Save My Pennies, English and Irish Families, Cemetery Name Change, Burial of the Poor
February 20, 2003 Orphan Trains, Dates in Genealogy Software, Looking for Information Online, Headings of the 1910 Census
February 13, 2003 Customs Lists, Searching the Online Census Records, Not Sure How to Find the Ship, Importing PAF into Family Tree Maker
February 06, 2003 Saving to CD-ROM, Erroneous Death Certificate Information, From Database to Microfilm, Prison Records
January 30, 2003 Old Family Photographs, Long Distance Genealogy, Scanning Notes Instead of Typing, Nineteenth Century Photographs in Missouri
January 23, 2003 Irish Research, Federal and State Census Dates, In Search of a Grave, More Than One Wife
January 16, 2003 Relationship Question, Where to Turn for Information, Correcting Errors Found Online, How Many Files
January 02, 2003 Relationship too Close?, Who Goes on the Family Tree?, Tips on Interviewing, Disappearing Marriage Record
December 19, 2002 Surname Spelling Changes, Incorrect SSDI Residence, Entering Royal Data, Duplication in the Census
December 12, 2002 Early Naturalization, Lost in New York, I Want to Record Places Correctly, Becoming a Professional
December 05, 2002 Maiden Names, European Roots, Delayed Birth Certificate
November 21, 2002 In Search of Waters, Finding Customs Lists of Passengers, My Immigrant Grandparent, Preserving My Work
November 14, 2002 Is It Copyrighted?, Hit a Brick Wall, In Search of Great-Grandfather, Creating My Website
November 07, 2002 A Teacher in Texas, The Late Mary Brevoort, Lovell's Canadian Dominion Directory, Resistant to Removeds
October 31, 2002 Not an Original Birth Certificate?, Researching Sarah Ann Cook, Record of Death by Train, Missing U.K. Birth Certificate
October 24, 2002 Getting Dad's Military Records, What is an Issuing State in the SSDI?, Respecting Privacy When You Publish, When Did They Come to America?
October 17, 2002 Related to Walt Disney?, Advice for a New Researcher, Locating First Papers, In Search of a Cemetery
October 10, 2002 Need a Pedigree Chart on Genealogy Companies, Looking for George Wallace, Birth Record Alternatives
October 03, 2002 In Search of a Maiden Name, Where Did She Die?, Early Italian Ancestry, Where Are the French?
September 26, 2002 Missing from the Social Security Death Index, Where Was He Really Born?, Wanted: Naturalization Records Online, Going Offline for Research
September 19, 2002 Researching 20th Century Ancestors, Farming in Minnesota, Non-American Research, Understanding Relationships between Cousins
September 12, 2002 Making Sense of Inherited Research, Finding Original Marriage Records, Installing Family Tree Maker on a Second Computer, Recording Parents Who Never Married
September 05, 2002 Apprenticeship Records, Sharing a Birth Certificate, Which Tree to Use, Recording Female Names
August 29, 2002 What Was Her Name?, Finding a Hard Copy of a Passenger List, Name Changes during Immigration, Different Types of Trees
August 22, 2002 What to Do with a Social Security Number, Native American Research, Misinformation Found, Finding Place Names
August 15, 2002 Sharing Research from Program to Program, Document Preservation, Just Learning, Trouble Finding Anything
August 08, 2002 Tracing French Ancestry, A Boy Named Fleming, Searching for Possible Non-Conformist Family, A Death in Argentina
July 25, 2002 Surname Spelling Variations, 1910 Census Civil War Veteran, Out of Print Books, Finding a Name
July 18, 2002 Clues from 1881 English Census Index, Source Citation vs. Master Source, Manifest ID Numbers, Ireland to Ellis in 1859
July 11, 2002 Sharing Information, Hiring a Professional, Entering Dit Names
June 27, 2002 German Birth Records, Ship Records, Related to General John Stark
June 20, 2002 Why Private, Native American Research, Institution Records
June 13, 2002 Adoption Research, Adding to a Tree, Tree Numbers, Keeping a History of Now
June 06, 2002 Bad Info., Family History in Australia, 1930 Census, Recording Dit Names in Genealogy Software
May 30, 2002 Looking toward Certification, Missing in SSDI, Understanding Dit Names, Grandpa Came through Ellis Island
May 23, 2002 Figuring Birth from Census, Canon vs. Civil, GEDCOM to FTM Problem, Hiring a Genealogist
May 16, 2002 1890 Census, Ellis Island, Beginning Genealogy
May 09, 2002 Separate Family Files, Sharing Social Security Numbers, Family Tree Not Online, World War I Enlistment/Service
May 02, 2002 Questionable CDs, Cousinship Terms, Before Ellis Island, Looking for a Death Certificate
April 25, 2002 Going to the Courthouse, Genealogy 101, From England to the United States
April 18, 2002 Going Back to Italy, Australian Research, Becoming a Professional Genealogist
April 11, 2002 Married in Malaysia, Native American Research, Prison Records— NYS under Colonial Rule
April 04, 2002 Hiring a Professional, Tracing an Emigrant, Updating My Online Tree
March 28, 2002 Ship Passenger Information, Enumeration District from Address, Where to Start in Lithuania
March 21, 2002 Railroad Retirement Benefits, Privatized Information, FamilyFinder Reports, Beyond Ellis Island
March 14, 2002 Audio Cassette Preservation, Ancestor Has Disappeared, Second Spouses, Born in Texas
March 07, 2002 Pre-1962 Social Security Search, Searching for Erik Frey, More Info. Needed, Contacting Courthouses
February 28, 2002 Surname Spellings, Elusive Passenger List, Disappearing Family Page, Author of a Family Tree
February 21, 2002 Cousins, Finding a Birth Date, Individuals with Different Surnames, Looking for Churches
February 14, 2002 Passport Indexes, Finding a Tree in World Family Tree, Numident vs. SS-5, Beginning Genealogist
February 07, 2002 Where Did He Come From?, Forcing the Correction of Incorrect Information, Appointment of Guardian, What Is a Great?
January 31, 2002 Her Name Was Nancy, Finding Wills, Born in Ireland, Incompatible File Formats
January 24, 2002 The Next Step, Civil War Vet, Just Learning, Tindalls in 1900
January 17, 2002 City Directories, Getting a Birth Certificate, Scottish Prisoner, Finding a Link to Family
January 10, 2002 Baffled by Erroneous Information, Looking for Family, Understanding the Online 1900 Census, One Family File or Many
January 03, 2002 Ohio Deaths, The Name's the Same, Kissing Cousins, Fred or John
December 20, 2001 Place of Death, Primogeniture and Inheritance, Records for Castle Garden
December 13, 2001 Cemeteries, Receiving GEDCOM Files, Genealogy Classes, Researching Online
December 06, 2001 Birth Places, Railroad Accident, End of Line Ancestor, What Am I Doing Wrong?
November 29, 2001 Family Crest, Research in New York, Waiting for Correspondence, WFT Contributors
November 15, 2001 Lost Family, I Need Evidence, 1910 Index Alternatives, Italian Research
November 08, 2001 Pre-Ellis Island Records, A Complete Tree, Uncovering Many Generations, Russian Research
November 01, 2001 Plott Family Tree, Social Security Price Increase, Ellis Island Online, Vital Records Online
October 25, 2001 Handling Name Changes, Page No Longer There, Surname Definition, Notations on the Census
October 18, 2001 Which Tree to Do?, From CD to Source, Errors on a Page, Cataloging Digitized Files
October 11, 2001 Getting Started Online, The GAR, World War I Pension
October 04, 2001 Grandma's from Finland, Lost at Sea, FBI Records, Are They Related
September 27, 2001 Researching in Germany, Jersey Blues, African American Research, Chartin Dilemma
September 13, 2001 Too Late for Ellis Island, Cherokee Heritage, How to Go Back, Coat of Arms
September 06, 2001 Looking in Census, Looking for a Death, Intermarriages, Sealed Records
August 30, 2001 Looking for O'Leary, Morton Allen Directory, How Do I Find Her, Unknown Abbreviation
August 23, 2001 America as the Foreign Country, Is There a Relationship, Where Is He?
August 16, 2001 Census Records Online, Searching for Brown, Which Name Do You Use?
August 09, 2001 New York City Marriage, SSDI Is Wrong, Germans to America, Getting Added to the SSDI
August 02, 2001 Dit Names, Name Changes, Mortality Schedules, Early Land Grants
July 26, 2001 Farm Schedules, Passenger List Annotations, Other Ports of Arrival, Civil War Soldier
July 19, 2001 Handling Jr. and Sr., Passenger List Problem, Naturalization in the 1700s, Ohio Lands
July 12, 2001 1900 Census Question, RR and Social Security, Different Languages—Different Spellings, Online Death Indexes
June 28, 2001 Creating a Family Association, Oklahoma Territory, Looking for Manifests, No Birth Record
June 21, 2001 Missing from SSDI, Catholic Records, What Is She to Me, Making a Connection
June 14, 2001 Identity Theft, Relationship Confusion, Searching for Surnames, Missing Birth Records
June 07, 2001 Seeking a Passenger, Degrees of Relationship, Getting Started Online
May 31, 2001 Wills in Lee County, Unauthorized Use, Ellis Island Records
May 24, 2001 Researching in Massachusetts, Contacting a Missing Relative, No Paper Trail, Foreign Research
May 17, 2001 Contact WFT Contributors, Indians, Probate Records, Looking for a Passenger
May 10, 2001 Genealogy Detective, What Place?, Sharing Your Data, Railroad Passengers
May 03, 2001 Prison Records, Looking for Tanners, What Records First?
April 26, 2001 Are We Cousins?, How Are We Related? Royal Relationships, Common Surnames
April 19, 2001 Understanding Census Records, U.S. Military Buried in England, Researching in Indiana
April 12, 2001 Webb Family Crest, Stewart Research, Still Related?
April 05, 2001 Opening a GEDCOM, Finding Blank Forms, The Key Is Organization
March 29, 2001 Getting Started Online, Finding Families, Early Immigrant Arrivals, Massachusetts Research
March 22, 2001 When to Publish Online, No One to Turn To, Removed from What?, Finding a Professional
March 15, 2001 African American Vital Records, Where on the Ship's List?, Where Is He?, Looking for Naturalization Records
March 08, 2001 Lost Marriage Record, Information from Census, Who Are His Parents, Whom Did She Marry
March 01, 2001 Looking for Jimtown, Looking for Census, Listed in the Census, Genealogical Education
February 22, 2001 Where in Switzerland, Early Land Grants, Stuck in Baltimore, Protecting Privacy
February 15, 2001 Keeping Costs Down, Mortality Schedules, Finding the Right Church
February 01, 2001 Bounty in North Carolina, Soldiers Named Battle, Getting Started, Searching for Parents
January 25, 2001 Working with Immigrants, Learning about Land Records, Release of Dower, Arriving in Albany
January 18, 2001 Daughtering Out, Writing for Records, Native American Ancestry, Passenger List or Manifest
January 11, 2001 Looking for Birth Place, Which Society, What Do You Source, Military Records
January 04, 2001 Continuing Pedigree Charts, Photograph Scanning Resolutions, Family Traditions, Jumping the Pond
December 28, 2000 Finding a Birth Certificate, Prison Records, Out of Print Books, Finding Social Security Number
December 21, 2000 County Names, Lost at Sea, Hinshaw's American Quaker Genealogy, Crossing the Pond
December 14, 2000 Ancestral File Information, Computerizing My Genealogy, Working with the Dawes Rolls, New England Research
December 07, 2000 History of a Ship, Understanding Census Questions, African American Research, Passenger Lists Resources
November 30, 2000 Wrights of Virginia, Finding a Website, Famous Family Connections, Massachusetts Vital Records
November 23, 2000 Death in Kentucky, Junior or The Second, Proper Use of Baptismal Dates, Cherokee Ancestry
November 16, 2000 Castle Garden, French Ancestry, U.S. Military Buried in England
November 09, 2000 Getting Started on the Internet, Using Land Records, Railroad Employees, Were They Naturalized
November 02, 2000 Starting a Family Tree, From Kansas to Oklahoma, Black Dutch, Recording Place Names
October 26, 2000 Not Online, Using Tax Records, Research in Missouri, Hardy Family Research
October 19, 2000 Junior, Senior and So On, Coming from England, Missing Generations, Genealogical Education
October 12, 2000 A Basic Question, Where to Turn Next, Researching in New Jersey, Came from Ireland
October 05, 2000 Church Records Online, Understanding Relationships, Researching in Indiana, Researching in London
September 28, 2000 Researching in Georgia, Ryals in Georgia, Getting Back to Norway, Was the Name Changed
September 21, 2000 Arkansas Census, Where Do I Look, Searching in Indiana, Old Cemeteries
September 14, 2000 Missing from SSDI, He Didn't Exist, Early Indians, Spelling Variants
September 07, 2000 Finding the Impossible, Born in Mexico, World War I Help, Dawes Commission
August 31, 2000 From New York to Ohio, Early Birth Record Options, Clearing the Confusion, Age Calculations
August 17, 2000 Which Date?, Pennsylvania's Mortality Schedule, Finding Kentucky Death Records, Getting Vital Records
August 10, 2000 Born in South Carolina, Triplets Disappear, Who Are My Great Grandparents, Records from Boston
August 03, 2000 Disappearing Ancestor, Born in Norway, Immigrant Research, Pagan Research
July 27, 2000 Invented Ancestor, Sherman Family Crest, Researching in Florida, Family in California
July 20, 2000 Accessing Passenger Lists, Proving a Family Tradition, What Is Proof, The Correct Place
July 13, 2000 Census Age Ranges, Working with the Computer, World War I Draft Dodge, People Not Found in the SSDI
July 06, 2000

Family Tree Forms, Locating Port of Entry, Understanding Real Estate Values, Born in Kentucky

June 29, 2000 Finding the Boat, They Came from Scotland, A Possible Japanese Connection, Unknown Birthdate
June 22, 2000 Where Did It Come From, Keeping the Costs Down, Understanding Relationships, Related to President McKinley
June 15, 2000 Searching on the Internet, Famous Family, Burned Records, Deaf and Dumb
June 08, 2000 Meaning of Surnames, Passengers on a Ship, Looking for a Peacock, Just Starting Out
June 01, 2000 Where is the Tree Filed?, Family Trees Everton Publishers FTM CD #15, A Lack of Information, Grandparents in Sicily
May 25, 2000 Finding Parents' Names, Native American Blood Quantum, The Brick Wall, Am I Related?
May 18, 2000 Searching for Slave Records, Germans in St. Petersburg, Defining Census Notation Marks, How Can I Find a Birth Date?
May 04, 2000 RR in SSDI, Finding Naturalization Records, Jail Records, Canadian Border Crossing
April 27, 2000 Patronymic Surnames, A Missing Child, A Birth in Glasgow, Did He Remarry?
April 20, 2000 Locating Naturalization Records, Getting Past a Brick Wall, Understanding Citizenship Columns in 1920 Census, Russian Emigres
April 13, 2000 Birth Record Alternative, Meaning of Old Words, Internet Limitation, A Search for Evidence
April 06, 2000 Early German Ancestor, What's the Next Step, Products to Figure Relationship, A Change in Spelling
March 30, 2000 Stock Marks, Ellis Island Records, Early English Records, Where Are They Buried?
March 23, 2000 Looking for Kirks in Delaware, Where in Manhattan, Lost in Early 1900s, What Does This Mean
March 16, 2000 Immigration Question, Looking up Ships' Records, Teenagers and Genealogy, Migration to Russia
March 09, 2000 Missing Records, Died in 1961, Ship Records, Looking for My Family Coat of Arms
March 02, 2000 Connecting from South Carolina Back to Virginia, Help Finding Parents, Births in New York City, Missing Ancestors
February 24, 2000 Locating Name Origin, Understanding Cousinship, Maybe Related to Titanic Passenger, Junior and Senior
February 17, 2000 Descendant from Stephen Hopkins, Black Genealogy, Brooklyn in 1910, Texas or New Mexico
February 10, 2000 Lost Family, My Relations in Scotland, WW I Help, Hit a Brick Wall
February 03, 2000 Can't Get Started, From Slovakia, A Change of Name, Researching in Peru
January 27, 2000 Looking for Great Grandparents, Death in Washington, Conflicting Information, Family from Italy
January 20, 2000 Born in London, SSDI Explanation, School Project, Beginning in New York
January 13, 2000 How Are They Related, Looking for Virgil White's Family, Missing from the Social Security Death Index, No Help at Home
January 06, 2000 First Families of Virginia; Married in New York; Looking for Naturalization Records; Going Home to Ireland
December 30, 1999 Filling in the Missing Pieces; Looking for Presumption, Russia; Nineteenth Century Adoptions; Can't Connect to Virginia
December 23, 1999 Researching Long Distance, Died in New Brunswick, Who Are His Parents, Possibly Skeletons in the Closet
December 16, 1999 How Are We Related, Born in Vermont, CPA from the 1960s, How to Handle Divorce
December 09, 1999 From Quarles to Qualls, Married in West Virginia, Looking for Passenger List, Moodys in New Hampshire
December 02, 1999 From Scotland to Nova Scotia, Older Relatives Dead, Unknown Marriage Year, Looking for Cheairs
November 25, 1999 Creedons from England, Too Many Breeches, RR in SSDI, Baby Lafayette
November 18, 1999 African American Research Possible, Military Records Online, Changing Names, What Day Was That, Where to Write
November 11, 1999 Understanding Online IGI Records, Grandpa Was a Mason, Working on the Railroad, Protocol on Using Others' Family Trees, Mayflower Connection
November 04, 1999 Fan Charts for Christmas, Scotland in 1850, Parents and Naturalization, Can It Be Downloaded?, Baptism or Confirmation
October 28, 1999 Finding Records on Civil War Veterans, Early Births in England, Teamsters in the Civil War, Starting Researching in Mena, Arkansas, Where Was He Buried
October 21, 1999 Canon vs. Civil, Beginning Cherokee Research, Working with Federal Land Records, Frustrated with Kentucky Research
October 07, 1999 Jumping the Ocean, Working Before Census Records, Researching in Ireland, Finding a Family
September 30, 1999 Rip Off or Value?, Vital Records in Colorado, Emigrating to Canada, Researching in Spain and Argentina, Most Common Surnames
September 23, 1999 Where to Go?, He Didn't Die There, Born in Ohio, Catch 22, Farm Census Schedules
September 16, 1999 Finding Naturalization Records, Finding History of a Place, Finding a Place Name, Lithuania to Boston, Getting beyond Grandpa
September 09, 1999 Canada Back to England, The Meadors Oil Well, Just How Do I Get Started?, DALEYs in New England, Understanding Tax Lists
September 02, 1999 Jail Records, Do SS Numbers Go Bad?, From Kentucky to Indiana, Vital Records from England, Where Do I Turn?
August 26, 1999 Signer of Declaration of Independence Family Tradition, A Woman's Name, The 1890 and 1900 Census, Social Security in Virginia, New York or New Jersey
August 19, 1999 Family in Massachusetts in 1700; Born in Mississippi; A Book on Quebec; An Unusual Name; Stuck in Kentucky
August 05, 1999 Finding a Louisiana Birth, Is He a KUNTZ or a CUNTZ?, Immigration Records for Castle Garden, Ontario Research, Cherokee Research
July 29, 1999 How Can I Find a Birth Date, How Do I Calculate a Birth Date, Understanding Relationship, What's in an Abstract, Brick Wall in Georgia
July 22, 1999 Was She a Widow, Defining Census Notation Marks, Name Confusion, Online Research for Sweden
July 15, 1999 Too Many Churches, Hiring a Professional, Who is Francis' Father?, Where is Cyprien CHARLES?, Just Getting Started
July 08, 1999 How Are We Related?, Pre-1820 Passenger Lists, Cemetery No Help, Missing from the SSDI, Canadian Border Crossings
July 01, 1999 Understanding IGI Entries, Can I Research an Adoption Line?, Germans in St. Petersburg, A Murder in 1838, Finding My Indian
June 24, 1999 Finding Italian Ancestry, Copies from the Census, Passenger Lists of the 1700s, World War I Service, Records of the CCC
June 17, 1999 The Name's the Same, Searching for Slave Records, Ireland in 1872, World War II Death, What to Do before Death Records
June 03, 1999 SS-5 Forms, Common Surnames, Jamaican Research, Bounty Land Records

Home | Help | About Us | Terms of Service | PRIVACY
© 2011