5 Tips to Kick Start Your Genealogy Research

Ever since my Dad passed away I've been working to take over his genealogy work. It's been tough to take over someone else's work half way through and they're not here to explain everything they've done. In 2020 I'm working to understand everything that he's compiled and already accomplished along with restarting and continuing the research. I've got 5 tips that will not only help you if you're starting research but if you are continuing research they'll help start you down the right track. Are you working on your family genealogy? How far along are you?

5 Tips to Kick Start Your Genealogy Research by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

1. Start with you

There is a good chance that you already have a ton of material already in your possession. Pull together anything and everything you can find around your house that would be a part of your family history. This could be photographs, birth certificates and other papers, scrapbooks, programs, and tons of other papers.

2. Organize yourself from the beginning

This is one area I wish I had followed from the get go. Dad was really organized when he was working on the family genealogy but since I took it over I have not been as organized as I could have been. This has led to some double work and having to do extra work when I went back and organized. There are so many different options when it comes to organizing yourself from a basic word document to online resources like Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker Pro.

3. Talk to family

This is a great way to get lots of information pretty quickly. Talking to family at the beginning will allow you to really hit the ground running. Not only will you be able to get information and statistics about family you'll most likely get stories as well. The stories that we have written down are some of my favorite parts of the history. Plus the longer you wait to get these stories down the more likely you might loose them.

4. Find your local resources

Many libraries have a local history or genealogy area. This area will contain resources like local papers and books on how to complete research. In many places there is someone who it's their only job to man this area or there is someone who is tasked with it as part of their job. If you haven't done this kind of research before this can be invaluable. Check out your local community college for classes on genealogy research too.

5. It's a marathon not a sprint

This might be the most important tip! Genealogy work takes time and lots of effort. You will need to spend hours online researching, hours putting the pieces together, hours doing research in person and so much more. If you really want to get your family genealogy it will take time. Being aware of this from the beginning will help manage your expectations and hopefully not have you get frustrated too soon.

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