Some of the best genealogical tools available to family history researchers are census records. Not only can they tell you where your ancestors lived at different points in time, but they can tell you much more about them, their lives, and their families. While the information found in federal census forms varies a bit from … Read more
One of the most valuable tools for me in researching my family members in the U.S. has been the Social Security Administration. Today I want to briefly explain why that is and how you might be able to learn an ancestor’s social security number (and what knowing that can tell you). First, I should note … Read more
One of the most valuable forms I’ve come across in my research into my immigrant ancestors has been form SS-5, which is an application for a U.S. social security number. Here is what the SS-5 looks like using an example from one of my relatives (with personal information blurred out): More importantly, here is the … Read more
Premium genealogy resources are all over the place. But when you’re just starting out (or considering family history research as a hobby), you probably don’t want to dole out the cash for expensive subscriptions. Fortunately you don’t have to. There are numerous free genealogy research websites out there that can help you get started. It’s … Read more
I just wanted to share a quick tip with any other family history buffs who have struggled to find their relatives in the 1940 U.S. census when searching on Ancestry.com. A couple of weeks ago, I searched for several ancestors (as soon as it became searchable there actually). And I had very little luck. On … Read more
I’ve talked about my issues proving my German citizenship. And I may have figured out a part of the problem. While we know the basic history of my family and their locations, the officials might be struggling to find documents on their end due to a potential name change (not covered in what they actually … Read more
Have you ever hit a wall in your genealogy research where the only option to move forward was to get your hands on some sort of government document? That’s what happened to me recently. I needed one ancestor’s parents’ names. And the only way to get them would be to get a copy of her … Read more
Learn about my discovery in 2011 of being a dual US-German citizen, my 3-year journey into getting proof of German citizenship, and later getting my German passport. Then explore the 13 years of comments with readers sharing their own journeys through this process of dual German citizenship (in the US and elsewhere), and get their tips on figuring out if you’re eligible for a German passport and working with German consulates and missions to help you through the process.