My Personal Research Process

I began research by casting a wide net (also known as berry picking). I searched the catalogue of the Evergreen system (the library consortium of shared resources in the state of Indiana) using the search terms genealogy and family history. Using the same terms on Google Scholar and various databases I encountered problems with irrelevant results. Dr. Arnon Hershkovitz, in a presentation titled “Empirical Evidence of the Popularity of Family History Using Digital Traces” (given at the 2014 Roots Tech Innovator Summit) recommends using family stories, roots, research DNA and history. Using the Library of Congress website to search subject headings for “genealogy” I located other terms that were helpful: ancestry, family history, family trees, genealogical research and DNA. I also searched Google using the terms “genealogy” + “libraries”, and “genealogy + libraries + trends” to find sources related to family history research aimed at library staff members. I think concentrating more on professional library resources using library science databases would have improved the results, but the dual audience mandated more general sources. My biggest learning moment was the realization that my own motivations for personal genealogy research and creating family narratives, and experiences, are validated by scholarly research on the subject. I’m even more motivated to attempt my own family narrative by the concrete benefits I discovered. I’m also keen to incorporate intergenerational narratives even more into my role as a mother and “kin-keeper” (Fivush 50), which unbeknownst to me I was already performing.


Herskovitz, Arnon. “Empirical Evidence off the Popularity of Family History Using Digital Traces.” Family Search Blog, 5 Feb. 2014, www. Accessed 15 Oct. 2016.