Things to hunt for

Have you a timeline for each person?

  •  Birth: date, location, notes, time, conditions, newspaper announcements, declarations, betrothals, inheritance

  • Religious entry: baptism, ceremony, circumcision notes, welcoming,  

  • Education: did they make it past grade school? Where? Any teacher's comments or cool details?

  • Courtships

  • Employment or contract record: how's did they make ends meet? Did they trade or barter? Did they just do as their parents taught them? Trade tickets, education advancement certificates

  • Habitation: rental agreement, land titles, inheritance documents

  • Legal documents: land titles, sales or auction stubs/receipts, proof of ownership, wills and estate releases, jail time, court documents, tickets, divorce decrees, warrants, certificates, police records (stolen goods, indecent acts, drunken)

  • Marriage: was it civil religious or presumed? Do full records give the (full details of)parents of the bride and groom? Was there betrothal? engagement? Newspaper announcements? Invitations? Visas issued for travel? Passports for honeymoons?

  • Babies: any record of the child's birth can declare the parents where they were born? Miscarriages, stillborns, proper burial? Were there formal records? A small town could be registered in the nearest city later...

  • Census: can you track each one during the area

  • Phone book records or address card or voting notification cards 

  • Military: draft or volunteer cards, Mia letter, service records, discharge papers

  • Travel records: Were there legit passports or journal records of border crossings? Was there any bribe records (cause that is a thing) bills of lading, arrival, departure, immigration, deportations, holding, emigration, passport stamps, lost luggage notes, death at sea, missing in action

  • Money: they had it or spent it or lacked it... trace bigger chunks of it. 

  • Health records: immunization cards, plague victim lists 

  • Body records: cemetery, funeral arrangements, disposal records, donation acceptance, recovery or transfer 

I actually digitalized every piece of paperless books and am going piece by piece sorting and validating every piece of proof. Timelines and legends help. Enjoy the hunt.

Being Cautious

List of reliable sources—printed and online:  


  • books—authored, edited, and published 

  • newspapers and magazines 

  • peer-reviewed journals 

  • peer-reviewed articles 

  • Ph.D. or MBA dissertations and research 

  • public library including Questia 

  • scholarly articles 

  • isolated studies or academic research 

  • educational institutions and their websites 

  • Archives

  • museums

  • Government agencies


To determine the reliability of online sites and their organizations, determine the URL’s 

(Uniform Resources Locator) ending: 


If the site ends in .edu, it is most likely an educational institution. Be aware, however, of political bias. 


If the site ends in .gov, it is most likely a reliable government website. These sites usually provide good sources for statistics and objective reports. 


If the site ends in .org, it is usually a non-profit organization. These sources vary in being good or poor sources of information. You need to research their possible agendas or political biases if they exist. 



Reputable online journals and magazines: 


Contain a bibliography for every article 


List sources within that bibliography that are sometimes extensive and always 

include scholarly, non-Internet sources 


Have statistics and data within the article that validate the claims made by the author  



News sources: 


Every television and print news source has a website. 


They are reliable, but sometimes the focus is to entertain rather than inform. 


Think of these sources as a steppingstone to more reliable sources. 


List of unreliable sources—print and online:



The following are unreliable sources because they require confirmation with a reliable 



Wikipedia. Although this site is a good starting point for finding initial ideas about a topic, volunteers fact check and volunteers contribute- please take it with a grain of salt!


Blogs, tweets 

Hearsay- assume "I heard that" or "she told me" needs confirmation


Personal websites 




Questionable sites created by organizations that may have political or biased agendas 


Sites that provide biased information 


Self-published sources 


Opinionated articles such as editorials 

To submit additional information or corrections for this page, please contact the AHSGR[dot]Edmonton[at]

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