I’ve read many good New Year’s goals touching on genealogy research, teaching, learning, sharing and more.
Certainly this is a great time to get going with family history and genealogy.
Before I become too involved in “genealogy speak,” I’d like to welcome all readers with an interest in genealogy, but simply don’t know where to start. Welcome!
Jumping into genealogy can be overwhelming, particularly as you read blogs written by experts from around the world. You may find that – as you start to explore the world of online genealogy – that you discover some rather intense sites providing specific genealogy niche topics. While those sites are exciting to find once you are ready to investigate them, the following goal may help prevent you from going in over your head.
Newcomers to this field should set as a first goal to be honest with yourself and others you meet. Say that you are a new researcher, that you need to learn. Starting from the beginning is the best place to begin and will help guide you to specialty topics relevant for your own journey.
For the beginning genealogist, the LDS church has a very good set of introductory videos to help you get started. Those with more knowledge – and who are even thinking of becoming an accredited professional researcher – can see more videos at ICappGeen as well as resources at the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society. For those interested in specific topics, try JewishGen.org, the Polish Genealogical Society of America or those sites relevant to specific ethnicities or religions.
An Internet search will produce many more resources. The goal should be to spend a few hours a week watching the videos. Don’t become frustrated. As long as you’re taking some time to move forward, you’re going in the right direction. Once you have a basic genealogy knowledge base, you’ll be able to begin your research.
Last week, I spent several hours searching for information about my recently deceased great-grandparents and – although I quickly found the necessary data – it took longer to find the photos of their gravestones.
I requested – and soon had the photos – from a volunteer site. Genealogy encourages sharing and cooperation. As you learn and research, you’ll develop a network of genealogy friends who will be happy to offer their expertise. Learn from their hints and tips, but don’t ask them to do all the hard work for you. Your gen friends will help you learn how to research but they have their own work to do.
Each research project is unique. Regardless of how expert you may become, each investigation may require different knowledge sources.
The key is to spend time learning so that you know how to adapt what you know to each project.
I have a goal that may be unique to my own large family. While my research is already well on its way, as I’ve spent many recent hours working on adding specific sources to an already large file, and trying to fill big gaps in required sources to adequately support the names in my tree.
What’s missing is much of my living family.
With several hundred descendants, when my grandparents were alive, they were constantly trying to keep up with how many of us there were – and there are more now.
I plan to create a new MyHeritage family tree and share this with all my living relatives. I want to see a massive living tree showing my entire family – my children, my cousins and their children. I’d love to add another generation as my own parents will become great-grandparents for the first time this summer – and I will be a great-uncle!
I’m very excited to have a living tree displaying all my cousins, their spouses and children. There are so many of them that I can barely keep them straight. This will be an immense project that I’ll try to keep going throughout 2012 and it includes many active users all contributing information to keep our social tree
up-to-the-minute current. Using the new smartphone app from MyHeritage my hundreds of relatives and I will be able to share photos not just in a social network but in our family tree – a place to save them for many years to come!
At the same time, I’ll continue searching for photos, dates, events, places and more information for my ancestors, who are also an important part of this tree.
A very Happy New Year to our readers. We wish you the best of luck in your genealogy adventures.