A genealogical project question is characterized as either a primary or secondary question that is broad in scope which requires thorough, specialized research. Proper investigation of a project question necessitates the examination and analysis of a broad swath of tangible and intangible evidence. It can be a time-consuming process, and may require one or more sessions of customized research to properly investigate.

In a research project, the researcher executes a plan to address one or more research-related objectives, seeking to answer the project question or problem. There are numerous categories for types of project questions which form the basis and purpose of a research project. The examples below represent just a few of those categories:

  • Who were the parents of my great-great-grandparents, Zion D. Salter and Martha Jane Foster? [PARENTAGE or IDENTITY]
  • In what places did my McHargue ancestors reside prior to their arrival in Hamilton County, Tennessee, in 1858? [ORIGIN]
  • Was Robert Brown of Gloucester County, Virginia, related to Sterling Brown and/or Cary Brown? [RELATIONSHIP]
  • Does death explain the disappearance of Mary Umphlet from Gates County, North Carolina, between 1865 and 1870? [EVENT]
  • In what year did Michael Garmon leave South Carolina and arrive in Forsyth County, Georgia? [DATE: undetermined]
  • Could you tell me where in Virginia or Maryland David West married Mary Susan Sparrow? [LOCATION]
  • I’ve checked deed records, but failed to find a recorded conveyance to explain how my ancestor came into possession of real property in Hancock County, Georgia. Through what means did he acquire it? [LAND ACQUISITION]
  • Which brother was older, Thomas Piland or George Piland? [BIRTH ORDER]


If your pressing research question is too broad or complex, you’re most likely dealing with a project question which would require one or more sessions of in-depth CUSTOM RESEARCH.