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Trace the Origin of Your Surname

Trace the origin, ethnicity and meaning of your surname

Have you ever wondered where your last name came from? What it means? Learn about the different types of surname origins and how to trace the genealogy of your family name back through the generations.

Genealogy Spotlight10

Adoption Search: Using DNA Tests to Find Birth Families

Learn how adoptees are using DNA testing to find birth family members, including where to tests, which tests to take, and how to interpret your results and utilize them in your adoption search.

Sorting out the DNA Tests Available for Genealogy

Can testing your DNA help you learn more about your ancestors and heritage? Absolutely! Learn how to identify which ancestral DNA test is most appropriate for your situation and which company you should test with.

Special Federal Census Schedules

If your ancestors were deaf, farmers, slaves, veterans, deceased, or ran a business when the census taker came knocking, you may be able to learn more about them from these special census schedules of the United States census.

Learn About Your Family History Through Obituaries

One of the most helpful tools when beginning a search into your family history is the obituary. Beyond just the place and date of death, you may also learn the birthplace, final resting place, occupation, religious affiliation, community activities, street address, the names of friends and relatives, and other details which can help you learn a great deal about the people from your past.

Tips for Planning a Genealogy Vacation

Combining a summer vacation with a genealogy research trip cannot only be rewarding but fun for you and your family. When your genealogy research next sends you on the road, try these tips for preventing frustration and achieving success.

Building a Personal Digital Genealogy Library

Learn how to use online sources such as HathiTrust, Internet Archive, Google Books, and more to build a personal digital genealogy library almost for free.

Trace Your Ancestors Through the Canadian Census

Learn how to research your own ancestors through available online Canadian census records by following this example featuring "Anne of Green Gables" author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Dishing on the Neighbors - Records of the US Southern Claims Commission

Records of the US Southern Claims Commission are rich with first-person testimony of not only those who made claims for restitution following the Civil War, but also neighbors, relatives, and former slaves.

US Census Enumeration Maps 1900–1940

Census enumeration maps are a great resource for genealogists. Learn more about what you can learn from these maps and how to access more than 60,000 U.S. census enumeration maps for free online.

Historical Records Survey of the Works Progress Administration

While the Historical Records Survey of the Works Progress Administration was never completed, the resulting inventories of county, church, and other historical records and manuscripts is an invaluable resource for genealogists. Learn how to access and use these WPA inventories, both online and off.

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