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Genealogy Research in University Archives: Tips

Resources in University Archives for genealogical research.
Last Updated: Nov 18, 2020 9:06 AM

Tips for Research Success

Keep in mind:

  • Many resources in University Archives can assist family historians and genealogists in their research.  While archivists and librarians can facilitate your work and suggest research strategies, unfortunately, our staff is unable to draw genealogical conclusions for patrons.
  • Historical research takes time.  Plan ahead and start early.
  • Take notes.  Record your sources and link each source with your notes.  Archivists cannot backtrack your research and identify citations and images so this part is up to you.
    • When using a collection, write down the collection name, number, and box/folder or page number with your corresponding notes.
    • If you take a photo of something, write down the source of the material on scrap paper, place it next to the object, and photograph the whole thing.  You'll have the image with it's source in one shot..
  • Don't forget: yearbooks, course catalogs, university newspapers, films, ephemera, all give an idea of daily campus life.  Look at these resources for the era appropriate for your research.  You may not find a particular name, but you'll gain an understanding of their day-to-day life at UB.
  • The historical record is imperfect and incomplete.  It is what has survived and what was collected or donated to the Archives.
  • Keep context in mind.  Think about what has been recorded, what hasn't, and why.
  • Using and understanding resources
    • Tips from the National Archives on analyzing and understanding primary source material