Research and Process

White County probate office in Searcy, ARSome of you may be interested in the research methods I used during the writing of Jordan’s Journey. There was no one approach that I used to write the book, bringing together many different ways of accessing information. If you are interested in specific topics, or have specific questions, please let me know so I can try to address those issues in future posts.

My main sources can be broken down into the following broad categories:

  • Family photos, correspondence, and interviews
  • Online sources, particularly and
  • Real world sources, such as libraries, archives, genealogical/historical societies, and courthouses

First you gather what people know by talking to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else in your family who knows anything about the family lineage. Write the lineages down on paper if that’s easier for you but ultimately you will want to get it into a computer. There’s just so much more you can do with your information in digital form.

The best way to record your information is at’s tools for building your online tree are simple yet effective. You don’t have to purchase a membership to get started. You do need a membership to take advantage of’s valuable databases–but you can build a tree based on your own knowledge without paying a cent. And that’s where you need to start anyway: with what you know. If you want to go further you can either invest in a membership or even access’s databases at a local library.

Which leads to the next phase… If you get serious about genealogy you’ll definitely want to start visiting places such as libraries, archives, genealogical/historical societies, and courthouses. While a lot of information is available online today, there’s still plenty of details to uncover that have not yet been digitized. Besides, rummaging through old records can be quite fun and gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you find what you’re looking for.

And that’s more than enough to get you started. In reality, genealogy is a lifelong hobby. You can flow in and out of it as time and interest allows. But no matter how much you accomplish there’s always more to discover and explore. Genealogy will keep you busy and entertained (and no doubt frustrated at times) for years to come.

If you are interested in learning more about my research, or need a bit of guidance for where to look next in your own, leave a note in the comments and I’ll help out in any way I can.

And be sure to watch the trailer for Jordan’s Journey. The book will be available soon!

4 Responses to “Research and Process”

  1. Tammy B. says:

    Where did you take the above picture? Is it a library?

    • admin says:

      That shot was in the probate office in Searcy (White County, Arkansas). I did research there back in September. That’s my dad walking down the hall.

  2. Mom says:

    This picture was a surprise!

  3. Mom says:

    A trip I will never forget! I would not have wanted to ride in a covered wagon though! Those Arkansas interstates were bad enough!

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