Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: The Ten-Minute Genealogist

I'm busy, you're busy, we're all busy. But we really can get things done bit by bit.

Here's what I learned I can accomplish in just 10 minutes:

  • Write and post a message to a surname message board. Above, the message I posted on Friday about a long-standing brick wall ancestor named William Tyler Bentley, hubby's 3d great-grandpa. He almost certainly married Olive Morgan, but it would be nice to have documentation. Less than 24 hours later, a Bentley descendant contacted me! Now we're working together to trace this elusive guy's family. William Tyler Bentley was the father of Lucy E. Bentley, who married Brice S. Larimer. And thanks to the Elkhart County Genealogical Society, I now have much more info about the Larimers (plus a tantalizing lead on Mr. Bentley).
  • Click to follow a hint or two on an Ancestry tree. There are still dozens of unexamined hints on the trees I've posted on Ancestry. When I have a spare minute, I log on and check a few out. Most I click to "ignore" but some are very promising. OK, it's easy to get carried away: Today I was checking the hints on the mother-in-law of the uncle of the wife of a cousin, once removed. Had to stop myself from clicking on those!
  • Blog as cousin bait. I want to make it easy for cousins to find me. The more I blog, the higher the possibility that one of my posts will show up in a search done by someone who's related or knows about my family in some way. It works: One of my 2d cousins found me a few years ago via this blog (hi, Lois!) and another 2d cousin found me via my Ancestry tree just weeks ago (hi, Philly Cuz!).
  • Google a particular ancestor. I'm always finding new things that weren't online or weren't digitized just a year or two ago. It really pays to go through my ancestor list one by one and check out the top "web" results, "image" results, and "news" results, not to mention Google Books and HeritageQuest. In 10 minutes, I can do a quick search on one ancestor. 
  • Read other genealogy blogs. I follow about 60-odd geneablogs, and try to read at least a few every day. You all are having lots of genea-adventures and have taught me so many good tips about family history research! Thank you.


  1. Good advice. It really is true about things showing up on google that weren't there last time a search was done. Ancestry.com also, add things every day.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting, Susan! You're right, lots of new data becomes available every day (including on Family Search). Happy searching.

  3. AnonymousMay 27, 2023

    Hi there, I found your blog when searching for my Bentley ancestors in Oswego County, NY. I'm in Saskatchewan, Canada and started on my Bentley line in Brougham, Ontario.