Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jump In, Part Two

Yesterday I preached about not procrastinating on starting your genealogy journey. I think one of the reasons people waited to research was because they physically had to travel to courthouses to find records. It's not confined to courthouses anymore.

Here are things to get you started.

  1. Even if all you do now is get family members to fill out family group sheets, do it now. Our memories are not perfect. Even if siblings fill out the forms differently, there may be a reason for that.
  2. Get copies of family photos. It is so much easier now than when I was starting my genealogy journey. Find out the who what when where and why of the photo. My family collected photos but rarely, if ever, labeled them.
  3. Start a filing system. File physically and digitally. I've linked thousands of images to my family. Over the years I've discovered the best way to name my files, mainly to avoid duplication. I wish I had been able to start 30 years ago by adding the census image to each person. I've been slowly adding this over the last 10 years. 
  4. If doing anything digital, BACK IT UP! Probably those are the most important words anyone can say to you. Find a friend, son, daughter, or anyone who doesn't live with you to keep a copy of it for you. Save it in the cloud. If you back up at home, and everything is destroyed in a fire, you have NOTHING.
  5. Take a Genealogy class. Even now, I learn things from classes. Ancestry has some wonderful online classes. Legacy Family Tree has weekly webinars that are free. It is even worth it to pay to subscribe for a year (less than $50) and have access to ALL their webinars and syllabi.
  6. Have your DNA tested. Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, 23 and Me, all offer DNA testing for very reasonable fees. One of the benefits of DNA testing is that it will link you to other people with whom you share DNA. Maybe it will link you to someone on a line on which you are roadblocked.
Most importantly, don't wait. Clear a little time each week or month, whatever your schedule will allow and work on it. Once you start adding family members to a database and putting in all your proofs (birth, marriage, death certificates, obituaries, newspaper articles, census, etc.) I guarantee you will get hooked. 

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

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