Clan Oliphant Genealogy
While researching a families genealogy can be painstaking and incredibly frustrating at times, it can also be an extremely rewarding experience and a legacy to pass from one generation to the next. Most do not have the resources to hire a professional genealogist, so here we will try to list strategies and resources (mostly online) for specific families to track down their Oliphant roots. We are by no means experts in the area of genealogy, but we will try to pass on all the wisdom we have, and share what we find to be the best and easiest resources for the common genealogist. Best of luck!!!
Tips For Getting Started
1) The first thing a new genealogist should do is collect all family information. Documents such as birth certificates, obituaries, marriage certificates, letters, etc. can often be invalueable in starting out and having indisputable evidence of certain facts (dates, names, etc.)
2) Next collect as much unwritten family history (from the elder members of the family) as can be aquired. Even information on cousins, aunts and uncles, (along with ofcourse your direct line through grandparents, great grandparents, etc.) might come in handy in the future.
3) RECORD EVERYTHING!!! Please remember to write down everything that you may come across. Genealogy research is often detectives work, so even things that at the time may seem insignificant (biographical information on an ancestor for example) may come in handy identifying one John Oliphant (for example) from another. Also remember to take down the sources of your information, so that you can check back and verify if need be.
4) Try to stay organised with binders, folders, etc. This is very hard as you will probably have alot of papers, but is a big time saver in the long run. Or, if most of the work will be done on the computer, have a folder to put all relevant information into.
5) Once you have all of the information that you can get from family and friends, you are ready to start looking other places. Below we will try to outline different resources online
Oliphant genealogy resources Online
Message Boards are very helpful in finding others who are researching your specific line. You can search the posted messages for names and dates, and can post your own information so that others can contact you. When posting remember to be concise. Put in all relevant names and dates without rambling. Also try to remember to make the subject specific, as this is what people will see when scrolling through the messages (eg. "George OLIPHANT b. 1789 Inverness Co. N.S., CANADA" is better than "Oliphants in Canada" and will help those who are looking for your specific family find you.)
Genealogy.com - Good Oliphant message board; can freely post and search posts for specific names, dates and locations of your known ancestors.
Ancestry.com - Another good Oliphant message board. An advantage of this board is that all messages posted will be sent out to the members of the Oliphant Mailing list (see below: Mailing Lists).
Regional Genforum.com - Here you can find message boards for specific areas of the world (including specific Countries (eg. U.S.A, Canada) American states (eg. Michigan, California) and state counties (eg. Dickson Co., TN)) to post your messages. So if your Oliphant ancestor is from South Africa, you can post on the South Africa board, and so on.
Regional Ancestry.com/Rootsweb.com - Here you can find an alternate set of regional message boards similar to those found at Genforum.com (including Countries, US states, and US counties) along with counties in the UK. So if you have traced your ancestor back to Fifeshire in Scotland, you can post a message on the Fife message board.
Mailing lists are other helpful resources in finding common links with other genealogists. You can sign up for a Mailing list, after which you can send out query's (similar to a message board entry) to all other members of the mailing list, who are certain to be at least interested in the same area of research (Oliphant genealogy.) You will also recieve all other messages sent out by other members of the list. Because the queries are sent to your designated email, you dont have to bother checking the message boards for new postings. Remeber again to make your subject as specific as possible when sending out your messages to the other members of the list. Also there will be a list administrator that you can contact if you have any problems or questions.
Rootsweb.com Oliphant List - List for Oliphant genealogists. You can also search past posts.
Rootsweb.com Clan Oliphant List - List for Clan Oliphant researchers. This list is often used for queries about Oliphants in Scotland, or about more general Oliphant history.
Regional Rootsweb.com Lists - Here are all of the lists, including ones focused on specific regions (Countries, States, Counties, etc.) These lists can be helpful, but the majority of the messeges you will get will not likely be helpful to you (as you will get all queries related to the area, instead of spefically Oliphant messages.
Genealogy Search Engines
There are a few helpful online resources to search for specific people. Often, depending on the site, you can put in a persons name, date of birth, place of birth, date of death, place of death, etc. (or any combination of the previous that you know) and find more information on that person, including parent names. Often you can even find full tree's on these sites. At this point it may be helpful (although it is certainly not a necessity) to have a family tree program (such as Family Tree Maker), as you may come accross Gedcom files (.ged) that you can save and add to your family tree, without alot of copying (this can also be a big time saver.) Along with such programs, it will have instructions on how to find and add these gedcom files to your tree. Below are listed a few name search engines that are often the most helpful.
FamilySearch.com - This is the online catalog of the Mormon records. It has family tree's as well as BMD records (Birth, Marriage and Death.) To find certain people in the database, click on the "Search for Ancestors" option, then type in any information that you have.
Genealogy.com - This is another database with a few features (such as the World Family Tree, where other genealogist have posted their findings) that may be helpful. Just type in the persons name on the left hand side of the screen and click "Search!"
Ancestry.com - Database similar to one at genealogy.com (above). Very good for finding gedcom files and full family trees (it should be noted that the family trees that are gedcom files can be veiwed without any family tree program. The family tree program only allows you to save information found without having to copy it out.) This is the same database as the one found at Rootsweb.com.
ScottishDocuments.com - Database that can help you find wills in Scotland between 1500-1875.
Scotorigins.com - Census information for 1881, 1891, and 1901 Scottish census.
General Genealogy Pages
A short listing of a few general research sites that seem to be the most helpful.
Genealogy.com - Searchable genealogy site
Ancestry.com - Searchable genealogy site
Rootsweb.com - Searchable genealogy site
Genuki.com - Research site with resources for genealogists searching in the UK or Ireland.
Genealogy Homepage - Research site with resources for genealogists searching worldwide.
The World Gen Web Project - Non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for genealogists across the globe
BBC Scottish Roots - Step by step help for finding Scottish ancestors
Cindy's List - This is a huge collection of genealogical resources, mostly organized by location
The above advice is a very basic start to online researching. For further help you can find books for genealogists (both specific to a region of interest, or general) at your local books store or library. Some specific Scottish genealogy books include "Scottish Roots: A Step by Step Guide for Ancestor-Hunters" by Alwyn James, and "Tracing your Scottish Ancestry 2nd Ed." by Kathleen B. Cory.
- Specific help for Oliphants in Canada, the UK, the US, Ireland, Austrailia, South Africa, and other places where Oliphants have settled
- Oliphant family trees
- Further Oliphant resources