A Broad Tip

[this was posted to our Facebook Fan Page a few days ago, but I thought it was worth posting here as well for those who might not have seen it.]

Some tips are location or time period specific. We’ve got people from all across the globe who are fans here. A tip unrelated to your place/time of interest may generate a question about a different time/period–go ahead and ask.

Keep in mind that different places/time periods have different records–and different research challenges. But sometimes working in one place/time can help us in other time periods, just in broader ways.

Researching my low-German immigrants in the 1860s is different from my Virginia families in the late 1600s and they are both different from my New England families in the 1700s. But there are some things that are similar:

  • families migrate together
  • people tend to marry and interact with their social group
  • names get spelled all kinds of ways
  • you have to understand the local laws and practices
  • poor people leave fewer records
  • widows with children and no money have few options
  • there are exceptions to everything

That’s are broad generalizations, but usually they are true. We won’t say “always,” because there are always exceptions.

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