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Holly T. Hansen

Just Four Generations Will Get You Started

By Holly T. Hansen Family History is really exciting for those who do it. Those who have not been bitten by the bug may feel overwhelmed or disinterested. I love helping individuals begin their family history, and I believe that you can be the research expert on your own family. Simply learn to do it right the first time, or update, and fix it right for future generations. As you go through and document your personal four generations, you will have a great time. You will learn many fun and interesting... Read More →

Family Interviews

Nine Tips for a Great Family History Interview

Tip One: Set the Stage Before an interview, you may want to ask the storyteller to gather important information such as the birth dates and places of their parents and siblings, dates and locations of places they lived, or the names of schools they have attended.  Old photos and documents can also help jog the storyteller’s memory. Tip Two: Do Some Homework Jot down what you know about the storyteller’s family – names of relatives, family structure, timeline and history – or items of special... Read More →

Francis L. Dye

Create and Use Genealogy Charts

Written by Holly T. Hansen As you are researching your family history, be sure you create charts. It helps you and others make sense of where you are going with your research. Family charts have been created by individuals, governments, and researchers for generations. LOOK FOR THEM!! Genealogical societies and associations collect them and make them available for you to research and make copies. They print them in their periodicals, or at least list indexes to them. On one of my research trips to... Read More →


Dedicated Uninterrupted Research Yields Positive Results

Thoughtful consideration and pondering on the results of our many Retreats at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has been encouraging. To see the difference one dedicated and uninterrupted week of research makes in the abilities and awareness for attendees has been fantastic. We have had beginners who were hoping to learn the correct way to get started with their research. We’ve also enjoyed seasoned researchers hoping to get an edge on a new area of research and we’ve helped experts... Read More →

Holly T. Hansen

Court Records Yield Relationships

By Holly T. Hansen Searching through court records can be super rewarding! Most of them are not online, but many have been microfilmed and are available through the FamilySearch Family History Library. I have researched my Denham line for years. I collected the marriages, the census records (for the years available), and as many probate records as I could get my hands on. This research effort yielded much information but NOT who the father of Augustus V. Denham was. So, off to the Family History... Read More →

James L. Tanner

Ask-the-Pros: Researching Immigrant Arrival into America

Question: What can I study to prepare myself for researching my ancestor’s arrival in America? Answer: By James L. Tanner As genealogical researchers, we commonly come to the issue of our ancestors’ arrival in a new country. For those immigrants coming to America, there is the inevitable border crossing. Of course, since we commonly hear references to “illegal aliens” (now through political correctness called undocumented aliens) we know that a substantial number of people... Read More →

bounty lands

Military Research in America: Pre-Revolution

Colonial Wars service is often a major gap in your genealogy knowledge.  You are far enough removed in time for traditions of military involvement to dim.  Yet, the total number of troops mustered was large enough to include some 70-85% of Southern males age 16-45, who participated in local conflicts. Your pre-revolution American ancestors lived through a whole sequence of wars, conflicts, Indian scares, and massacres between 1620 and 1774.  These events united groups of scattered settlers with... Read More →

Tracing a Southern Pedigree

Tracing a Southern pedigree is one of the most difficult genealogy challenges you will experience—consider:  you have been looking for your ancestors for 20-25 years. And you are still looking.  Every time you come to the FamilySearch Library, you bring the same research tasks you brought with you last time. You are looking for the same ancestor. There are billions of ancestors now online at At At And at  Billions!  From all over... Read More →

Celebrating and Capturing Memories in England with Valerie Kelley

They say “you can’t go home again,” but I actually did and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It all started when my husband and I went about deciding what to do for our 40th wedding anniversary. Our anniversary was Sept. 7th, so we decided to make a trip back to England where I had been born 60 years earlier to commemorate both our anniversary and my 60th birthday. I had not been back to England since we left in 1950 – a period of 52 years. We made our reservations for... Read More →

Boots & Compass Research

Family History Research Trips for the Determined Genealogist

Working on hard research often requires research trips to the local area where the family resided. We are often tempted to plan a family vacation to the area where we want to do research in the local records that are not microfilmed or available online. Family History vacations are wonderful if you are looking at the scenery, visiting a cemetery or two and taking pictures. But if you are a determined genealogist working on a hard research project take my advice and make your research trip alone or... Read More →