After 35 years of doing family research I am considering turning Pro. I started my Putnam  Sisters  blog back in February 2014, when I was unable to access my rootsweb free website. I have covered a great deal of my family stories, and recently I started looking for a new challenge. It was time for me to stop my day job and I thought maybe becoming a professional genealogist was what I would like to do in my next phase. So I started learning what I needed to do in order to become an accredited or a certified genealogist.   The following are areas that I need to develop proficiency in:

  • Writing a well defined objective.
  • Compiling a well documented initial timeline while analyzing all known facts and previously held documents.
  • Creating a Locality research guide
  • Writing a research plan that addresses the objective and keeps on target.
  • Recording searches on a detailed Research Log.
  • Creating well constructed Source Citations for all sources used in the research process including where nothing was found.
  • Writing a Research Report that shows exhaustive research and results that address the stated objective that is easy for anyone to follow.
  • Forming Conclusions that the research supports in answer to the objective.

I read Research like a Pro¹then joined their Facebook group. I used my question;“Who were the parents of Sarah (Coe) Hall, wife of Samuel Hall of Ashton Under lyne, Lancashire England, married 2 January 1820 to Joseph Booth?, to write my first research plan, locality research, and research report as demonstrated with Research like a Pro.
Now I need to hone my skills.

I have enjoyed learning about locations where family members lived, not only here in the United States but around the world. I have made contact with shirttail relatives around the globe.  My sister and I have traveled to places we would never have visited if family ties had not drawn us. Next September we are planning a trip to the  Kornmeyers’ home settlement in the Konstanz district of Baden. We were to have gone last September but the COVID epidemic has us rescheduling for this year.

Locality Research Guide

A locality research guide will put, in one place, all the tools and resources on a particular locality where the ancestral subject to be researched lived. If you read a previous post of mine 6 things I learned you will see that I noted learning how to do anything and I do mean anything on YouTube. That also holds true for apps, “There is an app for that.”  A online tool called Zotero is one of those tools. Zotero will create a library for all those sources you gather for a particular locality search. It could be very useful in the overall process of compiling information not only on localities but also research logging and documentation. If you are not so much of a computer geek you could use an Excel spreadsheet in a very similar manner.

There are research guides and cheat sheets for most states and for other countries that you can buy from $4.00 to over $50.00. Some of these may be fine as a reference. I understand, if you really are interested in learning about a locality where you ancestors lived for generations it may be best accomplished by actually putting together your own “Locality Research Guide”. 

Locality Research guide for England

I need to compile a Locality Research guide for England.  The best place to start is with the Family search wiki. Family search wiki is found by:

  • accessing 
  • clicking on the Search drop down menu
  • then click on Research wiki.

There you will see a world map and the explanation that FamilySearch Research Wiki is a Genealogy Resource Guide with 94,056 articles. Each article is an area.

For England “

  • clicking on the map where it says Europe a drop down menu will appears for all the European countries,
  • choice England.
  • If you are interested in all of England click on the first item in the new drop down menu for England
  • if you wanted a specific county in England such as  Warwick, scroll down the menu to Warwickshire. Take a look around. On the far right are a list of the records for the area.
click on image to enlarge

If you scroll down the page you will find a map of England where you can click on a county of interest, and it will take you to that counties wiki page.
My sister was asking about one of our Warwick relatives that was a milliner. So under Record Types click on Occupations. that will take you to another article. Scroll down to find the list of Occupations. Here I clicked on Milliners.

“Millinery is concerned with making caps, bonnets, scarves, cloaks and all ladies’ outer clothing except dresses. Milliners were overwhelmingly female and came from a very wide range of societal levels, including ‘daughters of clergymen, military and naval officers, surgeons, farmers and tradesmen of all descriptions’ (Thompson and Yeo).

A girl would first be apprenticed probably in her local town, then either work as an assistant (either living in or as a day-worker), or if she wanted to eventually establish her own business she would go to London as an improver, there to learn the latest fashionable skills. She could work her way up to third-, second- then first-hand with increasing responsibilities in a large millinery house, and usually lodged and boarded in.

Lower class millinery houses abound as well, as do wardrobe shops where secondhand clothes were mended or remade for resale. Hurley (The Book of Trades or Library of the Useful Arts. Vol I. Wiltshire Family History Society, 1991) describes the intricacies of the trade, Mayhew has a section on the life and conditions of milliners (Thompson and Yeo) and Clabburn (Shawls. Shire Publications, 2002) has a specialist publication on shawls.”,Millinery,_Quilting,_Patchwork,_Smock_Making,_Staymaking,_Tailoring(National_Institute)#Millinery

Now that you have a feel for the Family Search Wiki. you should consider saving the hyperlink to your area of interest. Maybe you are searching New York State, Erie county. you will need to save the link so when you start researching you can immediately go and find where you will find the type of records you will need to access in order to obtain the answers to you research question.

There are suggested topics that should be addresses in a well developed research guide.

  • Background information
    • Quick facts
    • Timeline or major events
    • Online research guides
    • Genealogical Societies and publications
    • Geography and maps
    • History
    • Law and government
    • Libraries and Archives
    • Records loss
    • Local history
    • Migration Routes
    • Reference books
  • Record Collections
    • General Collections
    • Apprentice records
    • Cemetery Records
    • Census Records and substitutes
    • Church records
    • Court records
    • Ethnic records
    • Family bibles and compiled genealogies
    • Immigration and naturalization
    • Land records
    • Legislative records
    • Manor house records
    • Military records
    • Newspapers & directories
    • Probate records
    • Vital record
    • Tax records
  • New terms

The final item is a list I have started for new words I have learned. In a British will and probate I came across two words I was completely unfamiliar with, messuage and curtilage. These two terms may be used strictly in England but becoming familiar with them should make it easier for me to read old English documents in the future. Making a note of them on my locality guide will reinforce the terms and their spelling in my mind. It will also give me a place to refer back to if I forget exactly what they mean.

Getting started with Zotero I have started files for several areas of interest. I had often used bookmarks and my internet browser. For me I found it cumbersome and I failed to use them. On Zotero I can start organizing them into topics under the collections. Right now I only have the major collections. I see that I need to bring Tameside, Lancaster under England.

Click on image to enlarge

I know there are other-ways out there to put together a Locality Research Guide. Please let me know what you do and how it is working for you.

Success! You're on the list.

1 Elder, Diana Research Like a Pro a genealogist’s guide, Family Locket Books, Highland, Utah

One thought on “Locality Research –

  1. Really good, thanks for what I see as a great outline. I printed it out. Have a printed copy makes it easer plus I can take notes. Thanks

Leave a Reply