This week I’m introducing a new section to the site called “The Want Ads”.
We’ve all heard the stories of how someone posted a picture of a lost wedding ring in Florida and through the power of social media it made its way back to its original owner in Washington state. You’ve also probably heard the great sites like Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness. Well…I’m going to harness the powers of these great programs here on my site!
“The Want Ads” is going to be a section where I post pictures, questions, requests for help, and other items and hopefully we can help each other! Do you have an old picture and just can’t figure out who is in it? Do you need a document from an archive that is just a little too far for you to get to? Are you stuck on a research problem and would love some advice from other researchers? My dream is that we can all help each other, because you know you’re looking for help too!
If you have something you would like to submit, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
So you’ve been staring at your Ancestral Chart for a couple of weeks now and trying to figure out just who you picked to win the National Championship. (Am I the only one who is reminded of March Madness every time I look at an Ancestral Chart?!) If you are lucky, you’re still a little bit stressed out of who exactly to start your research with. Do not be stressed because stress isn’t cool! (Yeah, that pun was a bit of a reach. Haha!)
Below are some ways to help you choose who to research and the first steps in doing so.
Pick A Side
It’s never intentional, but usually we know more about one side of our family than the other. Use this information to your advantage. To get started, pick the side of your family that you know the most about. Do you have the basic information for your Great Grandfather on your mother’s side? You do…great! Use that to get your feet wet. Maybe you have the information but don’t have actual documentation. Take what you know and start verifying the information with paper documentation.
- When you find documents, or any information, make sure to write down where you found it. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of writing down where you didn’t find information as this will make your research much easier. I’ll go more in depth in citing sources in a later post.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Your best source of information will no doubt come from your older relatives. These family members were either around when an event happened or heard the stories first hand from those who lived it. Take advantage of this! Take the time to interview your family members. Write down their stories, or better yet, record them on your phone! This will give you the opportunity to revisit the stories later to pick apart more information.
- One thing to remember about family stories is that they are sometimes second hand information. Someone told someone who told someone who is now telling you. It can become a game of Telephone! (I hope I’m not showing my age here! Haha!) It’s important to verify everything you can with documentation or some type of reliable source.
Cousins Are Your Friends
Now that you’ve decided on who you’re going to research, it’s important to remember their entire immediate family. When I first started researching my family, I got into the very bad habit of only focusing on direct ancestors. This means that I was only researching my grandfather, and his father, and his father, and well…you get the picture. Not only was I missing out on learning about some fascinating cousins, I was also missing out on people who could potentially help me knock down brick walls.
- When you’re filling out your family tree, make sure to include all of your ancestor’s brothers and sisters (and their spouses). Not only will this help you in your research, it will also help with DNA hits. You are more likely to hit with a second or third cousin than you are with a direct ancestor.
Now that you know how to get started and who to get started with, now we can get into specifics of where to get started! Next week’s post will be a brief overview of different places to research and I’ll answer the question of if you really need to pay for the Ancestry account!
I couldn’t resist using a song lyric for this post!
If you have any questions about research or genealogy in general, do not hesitate to ask! Also, if you have an event or something you think others need to know that’s going on in the genealogy world, I’d love to help you share it! Below are some ways to get in contact with me!
I can’t wait to hear from you!!
I have a love/hate relationship with genealogy. I like to think of it very much like my dating life. Everything is going perfect and you feel like the luckiest girl in the world, then…BAM! That “bam” being a brick wall. It’s that one thing that you can’t seem to get past. You are now questioning everything you’ve done up to this point.
I guess before I get too carried away, I should introduce myself. My name is Amanda and I am a genealogist. I should warn you now that I am not your typical genealogist. I tend to be on the younger side of most of my colleagues and I try to make research fun and interesting. This has been known to get me in trouble a time or two and definitely makes for a good story. That’s why I started this blog. I wanted to show the “cooler” side of genealogy.
Now back to that love/hate relationship. I’ll admit that I did not grow up with this deep desire to search for dead relatives. In fact, when I first started doing research, I hated it. My mom was the family genealogist and she would drag me along as her assistant. I dreaded the Saturday trips to the archives. I’m not exactly sure when my feelings towards genealogy changed. I’m thinking it is when I finally started listening to the stories of my ancestors and realizing there was much more to them than the “dates” that made up their lives. There is something amazing that happens when you are able to see yourself in an ancestor who lived so long ago.
With the blog, I’ll be sharing some tips & tricks, as well as some accounts of my research excursions. I will also be posting stories about some of my more interesting ancestors. I invite you to come along this journey with me. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, and we’ll definitely get frustrated with some brick walls…but isn’t that what relationships are all about? If any questions, thoughts, or comments come up, please feel free to pass them along to me. I’d love to hear what you think!
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Bachelors in Mass Communications
- Daughter’s of the American Revolution
- GEP I
- GEP II
- GEP III (in progress)
- National Institute of Genealogical Studies
- Professional Certificate
- Board of Certified Genealogist
- Certification (in progress)
- Numerous other webinars and conferences
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- East Tennessee Historical Society
- First Families of Tennessee
- Blount County Genealogical & Historical Society
- National Genealogical Society
- New England Historic Genealogical Society
- German Genealogical Society
- Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania
- Kentucky Genealogical Society
- Irish Genealogical Society International
- Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity