How to Track Down Hard to Find Family Histories

Sooner or later whether you are a professional genealogist or an amateur family detective, eventually you are going to hit a wall while researching your family histories. The past has ways of concealing itself that force any genealogist to get creative with their resources.

Sometimes it is best to step away from searching for your ancestry when these obstructions start to become frustrating. Putting a little time and distance between your research and yourself will allow you to return to your genealogy efforts with fresh eyes and you will likely notice new details or find exciting resources you missed because you were looking too hard.

DNA Testing for Ancestral Evidence

The science of understanding the human genome and mapping the location of chromosomal pairs by the Human Genome Project has revolutionized preventive medicine, genealogical studies, and fighting inherited diseases and battling illnesses that alter human genes. We know more about the human blueprint than ever before.

If you are struggling to fill out your family tree then a high-quality DNA test from a reputable laboratory can help you make some educated guesses and direct your research in an effective manner rather than hitting that research wall again and again.

How to Know Which DNA Tests Provide Accuracy and Reliability

DNA Weekly is a website that objectively reviews the DNA tests available to consumers. DNA Weekly has a wealth of resources that can help any genealogist find answers to help them complete their family trees. The website can advise on anything from the reliability of a genome screen to the best software for any type of ancestry research.

Also, the DNA website breaks down the different types of genetic tests that are available based on how the results will be interpreted and used. A quick visit to their website can save you time and effort before taking the plunge and investing in a genetic test.

Learning from Case Studies

Elizabeth Shown Mills is a famous, American genealogist who is known for her accuracy, diligence, and outreach to amateur family investigators.

Mills’ website, ‘Historic Pathways,’ provides many of her case studies which are entertaining and offer alternative methods finding the data that you have been searching for concerning ancestry.

Mills is best known for her work debunking a controversial figure in African American history in Louisiana. Her article ‘Demythicizing History: Marie Thérèse Coincoin, Tourism, and the National Historical Landmarks Program,’ discovered that the subject in question was the product of an inventive widow and her friend who both created identities for themselves.

Coincoin was a fictive character but provided hope for many African Americans who found themselves in dire conditions at the turn of the century throughout the Southern United States. Mills’ focus includes undocumented people like many African Americans who were brought to the United States as slaves. While her discoveries demythicize Coincoin and embarrass the National Landmarks Program it is important to uphold the objectivity of genealogy and all social sciences.

Her case studies show that with some creativity and a lot of effort you can problem solve and track down any hard to find family history.

Family Search

Many of the Mormon faith believe it is their duty to baptize their dead relatives so that they spend eternity in heaven.

Mormons also believe in helping others. They keep millions of personal records (which does not come without its’ issues) and share this resource with anyone who would use it.

Family Search provides family tree templates, troubleshooting advice, and plenty of other resources that can aid in tracking down your ancestry. The Family Search website is free to use and intuitive, but the records of living people are restricted due to privacy laws and ethical guidelines.

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