Genealogy In Action Blog

Learn about various record types, methods and strategies, references and resources, and tools and technology to help you grow your genealogy skills. Articles also include a take-action prompt so you can immediately put into practice what you learned.

Are You Reading the Help Section? references & resources tools & technology Nov 09, 2022

Your favorite genealogy or genealogy-related website may have some secrets…

Wait, what secrets?

Each website has its own search algorithms, so the way you search on one site, may not be effective on another. Case in point: For many websites, a question mark represents one character (e.g., Sm?th), but at WorldCat, it’s the pound symbol (a.k.a. hashtag) that represents one character (e.g., Sm#th).

That’s just one example, but just know that each site's search works...

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Gazetteers for Genealogy & 4 Ways to Find Them references & resources Sep 09, 2022

If you’re looking for another way to learn about the places your ancestors lived, gazetteers are something to be explored. Let’s take a look at what gazetteers are and how to find them (and yes, there are many available for free online!). Plus, I'll share two pro tips so that you can find and utilize gazetteers with ease.

What is a Gazetteer & How Can They Help?

First, you might be wondering what the heck a gazetteer is. Many years ago, when I was first encouraged to seek out...

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Listen Up: Another Use for Google Translate methods & strategies tools & technology Aug 24, 2022

If you do genealogy research outside of your native language, you probably already use Google Translate, which is a great tool for figuring out the meaning of a word you’re unfamiliar with. I certainly use it to look up words, but Google Translate serves another purpose for me, which I want to share with you.

You’ve probably experienced instances where names are way off in spelling, making it difficult to find what you’re looking for. From a US perspective, we see this all...

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5+ Clues You Might Be Missing in US Death Certificates methods & strategies records Jul 27, 2022

Are you reading everything in every record you uncover? I’ll be honest. My answer to this question years ago would have been, “well, I think so,” and I would later discover just how wrong that answer was.

You see, back in the day, I used to be a grab-and-go genealogist. I would grab the few pieces of information I wanted from a record and move on to the next record, and rinse and repeat. It wasn’t until I realized I was missing important clues in records that I really...

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Plotting Land on Google Maps tools & technology Jul 20, 2022

For years I’ve used Google Maps to plot the land parcels my ancestors owned. I just like to have a visual on a present-day map, especially if I want to visit the area or see what’s become of the land.

For the project I’m working on right now, I want to see all of the original land owners (those that purchased land from the federal US government) in a particular section. While a list is nice, I want a visual depiction. So I’m taking the information and plotting it on...

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