10 April 2023

The Second Quarter 2023 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online

The April–June 2023 Issue  
of the NGS Magazine is Now Online

The April–June 2023 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 49, Number 2, is being printed and is now available online in the Members Only section of the website. Delivery of print copies depends upon USPS schedules. This issue’s theme is Methodology.

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

This issue explores methodology: the approaches, procedures, and strategies that are most successful in genealogy. Application of best practices in methodology can help family historians solve or at least chip away at problems typically called brick walls.

As tempting as it may be to jump online and start searching databases, the first steps in any research project should be problem analysis and planning. Diana Elder outlines the steps: defining an objective, analyzing starting-point information, studying the location, developing a hypothesis, and identifying and prioritizing sources. Her case study demonstrates the process and the results.

When a county’s records have been destroyed or lost, it may seem that the trail has ended for an ancestral search. However, as Kelvin Meyers notes, researchers can pursue other options to find information. He recommends verifying the extent of the record loss, tracking down all surviving county records, checking other jurisdictions, and seeking records outside courthouses.

Sometimes an ancestor’s path seems to reach a dead end, but expanding research to relatives and associates often locates additional documents for the person or provides indirect evidence. Julie Stoddard discusses cluster research, including how and when to use it, identifying the people in an ancestor's cluster, and organizing the findings.

Information about events in family history may be unexpected, incomplete, or misleading. Researchers want to know the whole story: Why did it happen? What was the context? Jennifer Zinck presents two case studies to show how some questions can be answered by considering relevant laws and customs, resolving conflicts, using date calculators, and avoiding invalid assumptions.

Many Americans know little about Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States since 1898 and the point of origin for the second largest US Hispanic population. Debbie Gurtler describes Puerto Rico’s unique history, major record types, naming practices, language aids, and genealogical resources.

In this issue’s columns, David Rencher offers thought-provoking strategies for the leadership of genealogical societies, in light of current innovation disruptions; Paul Woodbury provides practical tips for contacting and exchanging helpful information with genetic cousins; Carla Cegielski explains five methods for finding online sources of downloaded images of unknown origin; and Kathy Petlewski explores the use of JSTOR’s scholarly journal articles in research.

I’m pleased to announce the availability of the first index to the titles and authors of NGS Magazine articles, covering issues between 2005 and 2022. For more information, see page 6. I hope the index will be useful for finding articles about genealogical topics that may assist in research.



  • Research Planning for the Win: Next Steps for Breaking Down a Brick Wall by Diana Elder, AG
  • Overcoming Record Loss by Kelvin L. Meyers
  • Finding New Evidence: Strategies to Improve Cluster Research by Julie Stoddard, MSc, AG 
  • Hidden Stories: Exploring the Unexpected in Family History by Jennifer Zinck, CG
  • Research on the Island of Enchantment by Debbie Gurtler, AG


  • PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE by Kathryn M. Doyle
  • EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
    • Relevant Society Leadership in the Twenty-first Century by David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS
    • Tips for Contacting Genetic Cousins by Paul Woodbury
    • Strategies for Finding the Origin of an Image File by Carla S. Cegielski
    • Using JSTOR in Genealogical Research by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS

NGS Magazine is published quarterly to update members of the National Genealogical Society on NGS activities and to provide genealogists with special information and guidance on conducting effective genealogical research. The magazine is sent to libraries by subscription. Online access to NGS Magazine is available only as long as membership is active.

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