Town and Village

Windham County Genealogy Interest Group offers research help

The next meeting of the Windham County Genealogy Interest Group (WCGIG) will focus on doing "Reasonably Exhaustive" research on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., by Zoom only. This program is free to all; register at A Zoom link will be sent at least one week before the meeting.

Participants are welcome to pose any questions they have for the presenters when they register.

What is reasonably exhaustive genealogical research? According to the Genealogy Standards, genealogists attempt to collect all information potentially relevant to the questions they investigate for all evidence that might answer a research question about an identity, relationship, event, or situation.

Jerry Carbone and Wayne Blanchard will present some case studies that follow the procedures of a reasonably exhaustive search.

Participants will start with what is known about an individual or a family. Using a known name, place, and time, a research question can be created.

"The focus is usually finding out who the people were and who was related to them," Carbone and Blanchard said in a news release. "The problem we want to solve determines what the search looks like. The patterns of the people's lives open up possible research paths and the types of sources to search. They would have had dealings with government agencies and perhaps religious institutions. They may have served in the military or participated in social clubs. Maybe something was written about them in the newspaper. Depending on how wealthy or poor they were, they might have left a legacy in the form of their belongings or land. Looking at these factors helps to determine the direction of the search."

They add that any sources "may give us clues to answer our research question. But we really want to find original records provided by people who are close as possible to the events in question. Then we need to evaluate what we have found to see how well it correlates with information we already know. If the sources conflict with each other, we may need to do additional research to arrive at a conclusion that answers our research question."

The Windham County Genealogy Interest Group is an informal organization whose members are dedicated to genealogy education, research, and best practices. Meetings are held every other month on Zoom.

Many of these sessions were recorded and are available on the WCGIG YouTube Channel,, which cover topics such as: improving your search results in and; using family tree software; navigating the crowd-sourced cemetery database, Find A Grave; using land records for genealogy research; using, the database of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; and finding people in the newly released 1950 U.S. Census.

WCGIG is also supported by Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro and Rockingham Free Library in Bellows Falls, with use of their Zoom accounts, publicity, and use of facilities when in-person meetings are warranted. For more information, contact [email protected].

This Town and Village item was submitted to The Commons.

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