General Genealogy Tips

So I started asking some of my genealogy friends about the number one tip they would give to a beginning genealogist. I have gathered them here so that you can look them over and hopefully not make the same rookie mistakes that a lot of us fellow genealogists have done and if you are a seasoned genealogist then these might just serve as some good reminders!

1.) The number one thing that everyone told me was “Cite Your Sources”. Everyone kept telling me various stories, some way worse than others. I made this mistake the first two years or so of my research. I kept taking everything that I saw as the truth and I never questioned a single thing. I cannot tell you how much of a HUGE mistake that was. I am still paying for it!

2.) Alot of people also mentioned this advice, which I think a lot of people don’t follow for one reason or another: Interview Your Living Relatives. Your relatives are a wealth of knowledge. They are the first stepping stone to get you started. And don’t forget to ask them to look in the attic for baby books, old letters, pictures, military dogtags, etc. Relatives hold a wealth of information.

3.) When you ask a genealogy what one of their genealogical problems/issues are – pretty much everyone besides the neat freak will tell you this: Keeping Organized. This is a huge challenge for almost everyone in every part of life. There are a ton of options and methods when it comes to this – so the bottom line is to pick one that works for you and stick with it until it no longer works for you. Because if you don’t – you’re house will soon be covered in piles.

4.) Many people didn’t mention this but I think it is still rather important: Use the Resources Around You. For example, many public libraries offer free access to Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest. Some even have wonderful genealogy sections. If you are lucky enough to live near Salt Lake City (A genealogists Mecca) then for heavens sake – go the the Family History Library over there. Join a mailing list – you might find that there are a lot of nice people out there willing to do a free lookup for you. Use igoogle or yahoo or anything like that to organize all of your blogs onto one place. There are a million options just like these – all you gotta do is look for them.

Alrighty – so that is it for now. I just wanted to share some of these tips because I feel that they are really important and rather helpful.

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2 Responses to General Genealogy Tips

  1. Thank you Elyse, for putting this post together. I am just starting out and this is exactly the kind of help I was looking for.

  2. I could not agree more with your comment about sources. I also started doing genealogy when I was young (about 12), and did not cite a single source until about 5 or so years ago. I’m 27 now, so I have tons of secondary research that I picked up from others online and need to go back and verify sources on and a ton of primary research that I need to enter sources on. I totally understand!

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