Cheat Sheets: Part Two

Alicia Crane WilliamsIn a recent post I mentioned the Early New England Families Study Project “template” that I use: a Word document file with the categories pre-typed. I keep it on my desktop to open and “save as” the new file name each time I start a new family. For those of you who are knowledgeable about Word template files, you can set it up as such. As I do the research, I dump all the raw material into the form, then whittle it down as I proof, compare, and refine the text.

Alicia template
Early New England Families Study Project entry template

The first five steps were covered in the last post:

1. Review the Great Migration Study Project database (GM).

2. Review the Great Migration Newsletter (GMN).

3. Review Torrey’s Marriages (TM).

4. Create a Blocking Draft (BD).

5. Begin creating Research piles (RP).


6. Undertake a New Print Search (NPS) – see another, earlier post on this topic.

7. Thorough Periodical Search (TPS). Depending on what I have already searched, I go back to the “Journals and Periodicals” category on and search “all” databases. I may also go to the National Genealogical Society at where I have member access to the National Genealogical Society Quarterly back issues and index. I might also go to the, about which I’ve written before, and possibly if I am looking for historical studies about a particular time and place.

8. Colony Records and Histories (Colony). I have downloaded my own collection of these often overlooked but extremely valuable sources of seventeenth-century material, including Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1628-1686, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776, Provincial Papers, Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New Hampshire from 1686 to 1722, and History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Vol. I 1636-1700. For sources such as these that I use frequently, every time I access an index page, I print it, then collect all the pages as a hard copy index, which I can annotate.

9. Vital Records (VR). Beginning with the “Vital Records (incl. Bible, Cemetery, Church, and SSDI)” category on, I’ll search all the relevant places in our comprehensive collection of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut records – including some manuscript vital records for unpublished towns (such as Hingham). For early Maine and New Hampshire VR, I go to If I want to see an original page of Massachusetts records, Familysearch has a browsable version of Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, but I have to go over to for an indexed version.

The series continues here.

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

4 thoughts on “Cheat Sheets: Part Two

  1. As a retired public school librarian and a now ‘sometime’ family historian, I find this is a super reminder of the excellent resources available. Thank you for this reminder collection. I look forward to more excellence.

  2. I like the way your template organizes the information you save in the format in which you will write the person’s life, as well as organizing the research to be completed. Once the research is completed, the personal history only needs finishing and proofing.

    1. Peter, thanks. It took a while to develop the format which, of course, borrows a lot from Great Migration. As a “visual” person, this helps me organize.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.