"Robert, I signed on to receive Treasure Maps in February of this year. I have read them all several times and recently printed them out to put into a notebook so I can refer to them while on the web. I want to thank you for such easy to understand instructions and ideas." (Deborah Clark) more  
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Create your own customized resource notebooks with Research Outlines from the FamilySearch and the Internet and speed up your genealogy research

Long before the Internet, as I was getting involved with family history, Sabina Murray, one of my genealogy mentors taught me a valuable lesson that helped relieve the pressure I felt.

Back in early 1980's, genealogy research seemed to be an overwhelming endeavor to a young man just getting started (and without a computer, I might add). I thought you had to know everything. I was a sponge. Learning, reading, and devouring all the information that I could find on genealogy research.

She said something to this effect, "You can't know everything there is to know about genealogy. You'll spread yourself too thin. You have to pick the main places that your ancestors came from and become an expert in those areas. You just can't know it all--it's impossible."

So now I am sharing her wonderful advice with you. Or maybe you have already figured this out. Either way it is true. Don't get bogged down or overwhelmed by having to "know it all" like I did so long ago. Remember to focus on those areas where your ancestors came from.

Keeping this in mind, please follow along with me carefully in the next section of this article: "Customized resource genealogy notebooks with Research Outlines from FamilySearch ."

I'd like to encourage you to get a small notebook or two to use as your own "resource notebooks." In them you will have general, but important information about the area or geographic region that you are researching in.

You will customize them to your own needs. Let's go step-by-step to find some of the best resources to put into your notebooks to get you started. Let's talk about the overlooked Research Outlines from FamilySearch (at FamilySearch.org).

GO TO-- http://www.familysearch.org/ This is the FamilySearch Web site.

LOOK at the TOP and CENTER of the page where there are four TABS. The Tab on the Far Right is the "Library Tab."

CLICK on the "Library Tab."

On the next page the there is a link called "Education" BELOW and to the RIGHT of the "Library Tab" (it is on the purple bar).

CLICK ON the "Education" link.

Now you will see a link called, "Family History Library Publications" CLICK ON it.

LOOK for the link that says, "Research outlines" and CLICK ON it.

This is IMPORTANT stuff. Bookmark or make this page a Favorite. These are valuable research outlines that every genealogy researcher should know about.

They are listed in alphabetical order. Look over the list and click on the ones that interest you.

The "Next Document" link at the bottom of each page will take you from section to section or the links from the table of contents will take you to the section of the outline that you want. Here's an example from the Ireland Research Outline:

  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Ireland Search Strategies
  • Records At The Family History Library
  • Familysearch™
  • The Family History Library Catalog
  • Archives And Libraries
  • Biography
  • Cemeteries
  • Census
  • Church Directories
  • Church History
  • Church Records
  • Civil Registration
  • General Historical Background
  • Information Recorded In Civil Registers
  • Locating Civil Registration Records
  • Court Records (cont...)

NOTE: Some of these research outlines are also in PDF format. Either way you will want to print the ones that apply to you and your research.

For years I have told others about these incredible research outlines. You used to have to go to a Family History Center to get them. Now they are only a few clicks away on FamilySearch. Take a look at them and get this information in your Resource Notebooks.

Finding More Resources On-line

Another way to think about this is the "type" of genealogy research you are involved with. For example, you may be involved with: Irish genealogy, Italian genealogy, African-American genealogy, Jewish genealogy and so on. GO TO the Google search engine at-- http://www.google.com/

TYPE IN: irish genealogy

Now TYPE in one of the other examples I've shown of one of your own. Maybe you are interested in Scottish genealogy, or Canadian genealogy, or whatever.

Here are some examples:

canadian genealogy and also try canada genealogy

scottish genealogy or scotland genealogy

As you see, this is not a complicated search but it works well. You do not want to print everything you find, only the very best resource material.

You will have to sift through some junk but you can find some great general resources worth printing a putting in your notebooks that you will refer to time and time again in your genealogy quest.

Here is an additional search formula you can try:

irish genealogy history

*Other variations would be:

ireland genealogy or ireland genealogy history

For Scotland is would be:

scottish genealogy or scottish genealogy history

scotland genealogy or scotland genealogy history

Note: All of these are individual searches tried one at a time. Here's another good search formula that you can customize for your needs:


  • scotland genealogy resources
  • This can apply to any area. For instance:
  • alabama genealogy resources
  • italian genealogy resources
  • texas genealogy resources
  • russian genealogy resources
  • native american genealogy resources
  • australia genealogy resources
  • british genealogy resources

Do you get the idea? There is so much good information on the Internet about the areas that you are researching. Knowing more about those areas and the type of records that are available, the history and events--and all you can, will help you become your own best expert.

Your Resource Notebooks will grow with reference material that you've collected and will become a valuable tool that will help to speed up the research process for you.

Please re-read this article. Print it out and follow along with me and give the example and exercises a try for yourself. You should find some very helpful resources.

Note: FamilySearch is a trademark of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Copyright 1995-2007 by Robert Ragan - All Rights Reserved.