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Psychological stress in 1692 Salem Village
With a long and difficult winter, political uncertainty, ongoing Indian attacks, religious disagreements, strange illnesses, unexpected deaths, land feuds, and squabbles among neighbors, the people of Salem Village were feeling the pressure of the uncertain world around them in 1692...
Finding Irish roots through Boston Pilot newspaper ads
From October 1831 to October 1921, The Boston Pilot, the city’s Catholic newspaper, helped people locate their relatives and friends through advertisements in its “Missing Friends” or “Information Wanted” column. Widely circulated throughout the...
Strategies for finding obituaries in newspaper databases
If you haven’t had much luck finding your ancestors’ obituaries and death notices online, you may need a few strategies to improve your search results.As an example, at subscription-based GenealogyBank.com, a simple search for...
Newspaper obituaries and online memorials
A good obituary serves as a brief synopsis of a person’s life, from birth to death, and everything in between. Genealogical details may include the names of parents, siblings, spouse, children, grandchildren, collateral relatives, and friends; birth and...
Surname changes in genealogy
How many times have you heard the line: My ancestor had his name changed at Ellis Island? This is one of the most common myths (along with the three brothers story and the Indian princess story) in genealogy.Scenario 1An...
Finding the original or official vital records in Massachusetts
Vital records are often considered original sources for the events they represent, but that doesn’t mean the records themselves are truly the original.Before Massachusetts changed over to preprinted, individual forms for each person, town clerks used large...
Collateral genealogy: A case study
Tucked away in an 1867 Blackfriars edition of Shakespeare’s complete works, I discovered an old photograph of a man holding a young child. The book’s provenance, the photo’s time period, and the man&rsquo...
Combining genealogy with genetic research
Sitting down with a genetic counselor is much like speaking to a genealogist with a medical degree. After all, a genetic counselor works with charts that resemble pedigrees and family trees, though without names, just squares for males and...
Finding romance in genealogy
Do you know your parents’ or grandparents’ love story? How they met and where and when? Did they ever take you on side trips to show you the memorable places and events in their lives, such as where...
A short history of Plymouth Rock
Recently, vandals painted the renowned Plymouth Rock with one word: “LIES.” A symbol of the Pilgrims landing in 1620, Plymouth Rock was once part of a much larger rock formation, but it was broken, and over time, chipped...
Preserving Keepsake Memories
Whether they have pride of place on your mantle or are tucked away in a drawer out of sight, all of us have keepsakes or even family heirlooms with stories to tell. As genealogists, we focus on people, places, events...

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