As more people continue to take an interest in genealogy, there are an increasing number of services available to hobbyists and historians. Many look simple on the surface, attracting members with a search that pulls up possible family links.
Unfortunately, initial search results are sometimes hit or miss — good enough to entice membership but not enough to create a family tree for you. Genealogy is fun and rewarding, but sometimes it requires work.
To help people get a better understanding about genealogy, the Foundation for the National Archives will be publishing the Genealogy Tool Kit: Getting Started on Your Family History at the National Archives, written by National Archives genealogy archives specialist John P. Deeben.
This 160-page step-by-step guide is expected to be released in April at the archives shop and may eventually be listed among book retailers, based up the page holder recently added by Barnes & Noble. (Currently, the guide may be purchased from the Archives Shop in Washington, DC, over the phone at 202-357-5271, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The book, which is already in high demand, was published in early April to coincide with the celebration of the National Archives’ release of the 1940 U.S. Census. The Foundation has long supported research at the National Archives, including its annual support of the Archives’ Genealogy Fair and the development of genealogy products.
What Is The Goal Of The Genealogy Tool Kit?
The Genealogy Tool Kit will help family researchers of all levels of experience explore how their ancestors interacted with the federal government over the course of their lives. But what makes this book especially worthwhile is that the goal is to help people searching for information find the interactions people did have with the government and how to recover those records if they still exist. In other words, it is an insider’s look at how to secure government records without relying on third-party sources.
According to the the Foundation for the National Archives, the book works by helping people interested in their family history ask the right questions and then telling them were to look. Did they enter the United States from a foreign country? Apply to become an American citizen? Enlist in a regiment during a particular war? File for a patent, homestead, or pension?
Once those questions are asked about an individual or family household, the Genealogy Tool Kit points people toward the right records at the National Archives, from census and naturalization records to military and federal land grant records. The book also includes checklists so readers may track their progress.
For inspiration, the Genealogy Tool Kit also includes the personal discovery stories of archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles. There are other great examples too.
Celebrating Legacy will be ordering the Genealogy Tool Kit for the purposes of a full review, but wanted to share some news about the book for those hoping to have a head start. With the right plan, becoming a family historian or genealogist can be more fun than frustrating.
Equally important, working on even a few ancestor profiles will help future Celebrating Legacy members recognize what future generations will be looking for in order to learn more about their ancestors. By having a better understanding of what is important looking into the past, family members will have an easier time leaving legacies for the future.
The Foundation for the National Archives is an independent nonprofit that serves as the National Archives’ private sector partner in the creation of and ongoing support of the National Archives Experience, which includes permanent exhibits, educational programs, traveling exhibits, special events and film screenings, and historical/records-related products, publications, and media. The Foundation helps the public understand the importance of the holdings of the National Archives by presenting the depth and diversity of the records through award-winning, interactive educational exhibits and programs. You can find out more about the Foundation here.