Genealogy and Local History Research Methods Workshop

2-Day Workshop


Have you ever wondered about your community, the old buildings in town, how an area grew or declined? Do you want to learn how to research a person or an event? Curious about where to find the records or statistics you need for your research project?

This workshop teaches students to locate, analyze, and understand primary resources including census records, maps, deeds, and other public records, and selected secondary history sources. Gain hands-on experience accessing and using research materials for family and local history. Student workshop projects include biographical sketches of people, places, and events, blog posts, and short articles.


NOTE: Order of topics and Subjects covered during workshop varies depending up location and interests of students.

NOTE: Order of topics and Subjects covered during workshop varies depending up location and interests of students.

Day 1

Introduction to Genealogy and Local History

Census Records

Print Indices, Online Indices

Print Indices, Online Indices

Finding and Analyzing Census Records

Exercise 2

For future reference:

Field Trip to Columbus Metropolitan Library or OHS – when held in Columbus overview of their collections

Field Trip to Akron Summit County PL Special Collections – when held in Kent

(Field trips will be held if time permits)

Military Records from the National Archives: What records contain

  • Military Rosters, Pension Records, Burial indices for soldiers, Census of Pensioners
  • Civil War Records including Official records of the Union and Confederate armies (letters and military correspondence of the War of the Rebellion) http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/browse.monographs/waro.html
  • Post 1900: WWI, WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Vets.

Day 2

Maps, Atlases, Gazetteers and associated Local History resources

EXERCISE: Using City Directories and Maps to locate census records

Land Records and Land grants

  • where to locate information, how to interpret it
  • Deeds and Tax Maps

Exercise 3

Vital Records, Obituaries, Newspapers, and other primary sources

  • Vital Records – Birth, Marriage, Death and Divorce, Wills and Probate
  • What do they tell us, where do we find them

Exercise # 4

Cemetery Records – where to look for them and what do they tell the researcher

Miscellaneous Materials:

Video: “Building Bridges Between Genealogy and History” National Genealogical Society.” http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/publications/voices_of_genealogy/robert_anderson/building_bridges

Personal and public: Civil War portraits (Smithsonian Museum of American History) http://youtu.be/oouCmDCh84Q

Question period, review of Post Class assignment