The Record Exists! Part I: The Internet and Repositories

(This post is the first in a multi-part series about the different places you can find records.) I teach an online genealogy class for BYU-Idaho. I grade a lot of genealogy research papers. One thing that new students often write in their research papers is the phrase, “all the records were searched, but nothing was…

Online key

5 Tips for Using Online Family Tree Sites

The existence of online family tree sharing sites such as and has made family history research easier than it has ever been before. I wrote a post earlier about how sharing your family tree online can help you find your ancestors. Online family tree sharing sites have helped many people make amazing discoveries…

Mary’s Links for August

Today is my first in a series of monthly posts that will list several interesting genealogy-related links I have found recently. I hope you enjoy! Want more genealogy links? Take a look at my Pinterest Boards.

Organizing Research Digitally

Here’s one thing I am doing to organize my research: I used to generate two 9-generation PDF pedigree charts. One chart is from my FamilySearch Tree, the other is from my RootsMagic file, which originated from my Ancestry tree. Both trees are large with plenty of errors, so I highlighted where there are discrepancies…

Some Notes on Chinese Genealogy

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right. – Confucius (551 BC…

Using Historical Place Names

A good question came up on my favorite genealogy Facebook group, Genealogy! Just Ask! yesterday. I tried to answer it as best I could on the original post, and others gave some good input as well, but I thought it would be helpful to some if I answered it more in depth here on my…

Recording Homosexual Relationships in Your Genealogy Database

Regardless of whether you believe that individuals in a same-sex relationships should be allowed to marry or raise children, currently same-sex marriage is legal in the United States, Canada, the UK, and other countries, and children are raised in these unions. To record an accurate genealogy, you must acknowledge these facts.

Recording Divorce and Step Families in Your Genealogy Database

Complex families are not uncommon and have been around for many decades. Although many of us wish for a traditional, nuclear family, the fact is that cohabitation, divorce, death, and other circumstances happen to many families. No matter what your personal opinion may be about such things, they are a part of your family history.