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Some research hints for newbies - and oldbies...

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 4:40 pm
by bimjim
For persons looking for ancestors...

First, I don't do research for others, so you should not expect me (bimjim, owner/moderator of this Index) to provide any family tree info for you.

Second, this Surname Index is probably the best way to be available 24/7 /365 when someone else is looking for you... family history is seldom a pastime of the young, and as people get older a little interest develops - but not much more. And when someone does decide to become the family genealogist and starts looking, it's easy to become discouraged.

I am hoping this General Discussion part will invite some more good input in the way of tips and hints.

I recently started doing the Sudoku puzzles and became aware of how much they resemble the genealogy search for some people (among other interests), many starting out easy but denegenerating into apparently unsolvable "brick walls" that have to be chipped away at, pebble by pebble, until finally the big picture is revealed. That sense of satisfaction is hard to beat.

Other than the above, I'd visit your local library - the bigger the better - enlist the help of a librarian and look high and low for any genealogy-related publications. Ask specifically if they offer the Inter-Library Loan facility with the LDS (Latter Day Saints) - the Mormons - in Salt Lake City... most librarians worth their distance-learning Diploma will know what you are talking about.

In this area you are looking for any way you can "borrow" (there is a low nominal fee) microfilms and/or microfiche, and you will need a library with reader facilities for either or both media, MOST preferably with printers/copiers attached (otherwise you will spend most of your time laboriously copying down references and information).

LDS Temples Family History Centres seldom have up-to-date modern readers with a direct printing facility.

Also hunt down your local Mormon Temple, seek out their Family History Centre, and look for the film/fiche reference numbers of any/all material they may have related to your specific search. Copy them carefully, along with their subject matter, because they are key to what you get in the inter-library loan (and also send them to me, bimjim, so I can add them to my Caribbean genealogy resources pages for others to use!!).

Apart from sending me a PM here, my on-line contact is:

If you are so inclined, you might point them to my genealogy re-publications by VL Oliver "Caribbeana" and "History of Antigua", reproductions "Old Barbados Newspapers" I and II, and the census lists "Barbados and America" by David Kent. The first three cost me dearly to bring to print, the last cost me dearly to have quantity in stock, and I am still trying to recover my original costs...

The IGI (also by the LDS) is NOT considered reliable for CORRECT information, but it is considered a good starting point if you have run into a brick wall and are looking for clues to verify elsewhere... ... ch_IGI.asp

Again, always verify the LDS on-line database information with another reliable source before taking it as "gospel".

You can insert as much info into that form as you want, but (contrary to a note that I once found on that page) you CAN insert just a surname and select "Caribbean Islands" as the region and get back a listing of all individuals across the Caribbean with that surname - as well as like-sounding names under the LDS "Soundex" protocol (in my case, Lynch = Linch = Lenche = L520, etc).

You may want to cover all your bases and also do a check on the regional settings "Central America" and "World Misc."

There are hundreds of genealogy "email discussion lists" on, one being "Caribbean-L" (which was just changed to just "Caribbean"). There may be one for the Caymans only, and it's worth a search. You join by sending an email to the List Mail Server, and you become one of the recipients of every email sent to the List.

*** A major drawback to these email lists is the SPAM... but only if the List is "archived". The Caribbean-L list is archived both on and publicly elsewhere, and the SPAM harvesting software really clean up on email addresses in these areas.

*** If you do join a discussion List or a genealogy Forum (other than mine, where I have removed emails from public view), do so with a HotMail or other disposable address (or any provider where the SPAM filters are REALLY effective), but definitely do NOT use your own private email address. At one point I was up to 5,000 a day - and growing, and had to make majot changes to all my internet communications.

My Caribbean Genealogy Resources pages have specific island/country reference lists here:

And here's another worth spending time on...

As well as, of course, Rootsweb:

In return I ask that you please help me to help others. if you ever come across a researcher who does work in (or for) ANY of the Caribbean islands/countries, that information (names/contacts of researchers) is a resource sadly lacking everywhere. Please provide me with his/her contacts so I can ask him/her directly if they would be listed in my Resource pages.

Researchers, please contact me directly, PM here or via my contact form, if you wish to be added to my Resources pages.

I hope that helps someone to dig another pebble out of their wall...