Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Changing My Speciality and Learning about U.S. Census Records

One important note: I have decided to change my specialization from German Records to U.S. Records. Why?
-For my personal research, specializing in U.S. records is ideal. While many of my ancestors immigrated here in the late 19th century, I want to start with the latest in my family history and work backwards, learning as much as possible about each generation. This means that I'll be working mostly with U.S. records for some time.
-As a professional genealogist, I will want to know as much as possible about the records available to me in order to serve my clients' needs. The records that are most accessible to me are U.S. records.

That said, I am still very interested in learning about German, as well as Italian, records. I will continue to take classes in these areas (as well as many others) after I obtain my certificate in U.S. Records, for professional development.

On another note, the latest class I've taken at NIGS is U.S. Census Records. While I've worked with census records a great deal before, I feel like I have a much better understanding of them now. This course was particularly helpful in identifying the questions that were asked on each census, and determining what unique and useful information can be obtained from each census year. I also learned about some sources I would not have thought to look for, specifically non-population schedules, such as tax lists and veterans schedules. I think the latter will be especially useful in my research, since I believe that many of my ancestors served in the military or would have been receiving a pension around the time these schedules were taken.


  1. I noticed that you have taken some of the NIGS courses and wondered what you thought of them. I am considering taking some of them in the future. I just wish that they were regular university courses instead of "Continuing Education" because then I could use the GI Bill to pay for it. :)
    Have you been learning a lot through the classes?

  2. Hi Jennifer -

    I'm sorry that I didn't see this comment before now - I don't get an email when people comment since I moderate the comments, hmm.

    I have found the classes to be very helpful, especially the methodology classes, which teach you how to research properly so that your work is professional and you are more efficient.

    The records courses are informative as well, but very general (country specific). Pennsylvania records have their own little quirks, like anywhere else, that I am learning about as I research.

    I can't seem to find financial aid for continuing education either, except in a very limited number of loans - and I have quite enough of those, lol. If only BYU had an online option...we can dream, I guess.