Philatelic Genealogy: What is it and how can it help me find my ancestors?

As a child you may have been a philatelist without knowing the official term. Stamp collecting has long been a popular hobby.  It was (and still is) a great way for young and old alike to learn more about the world. The word “philately” is the English version of a French word coined by a man named Georges Herpin in 1864. Herpin took the Greek root word “philo” which refers to love or appreciation of something, and combined it with the word “ateleia” which refers to “exempt from duties and taxes”. . . . Genealogists know that Bible records, wills and old letters can be a gold mine of family history. In regards to old mail, philatelic genealogy also looks at the outside of the envelope to glean genealogical information. . . For the rest of the article, which includes actual examples of combing through old letters to find family history “gems”, purchase the January issue of Digging History Magazine here ($1.99)....

Brick Walls: Despise Them or Conquer Them

Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned genealogist, you have inevitably run into what is called a “brick wall”. If you primarily use the internet for research, it’s easy to blame it on Google, but sometimes it has nothing to do with search techniques, but a mindset that may need some adjustment — or a change in strategy. For instance, and I’ve encountered this myself, we rely too much on family “lore”. Let’s face it, some family stories were just that — stories (and perhaps outright stretches of the truth!). Too much reliance on those stories may have you “barking up the wrong tree.”. . . Try a “Back Door” Approach Awhile back I was researching family history for a friend who was adopted by his aunt and uncle. He knew his mother but didn’t know much about his father (but did know his name). After a brief conversation with his wife at church one Sunday, I set out on a quest to find out all I could about his father and his family. What I found was a family tragedy related to a volatile time in United States history on the border between Texas and Mexico.  To read the rest of this lengthy and informative article, purchase a copy of the January issue of Digging History Magazine here ($1.99). P.S.  This article in the magazine is followed by a short article on effective Internet search...