Effective family history research involves much more than entering names, date and places into charts or computers. The best researchers use what they learn to help them place their lives, the lives of their family members, and world events into context.|
Think of genealogy as a journey of discovery, or a window on the world. With that in mind, a few pointers:
Stay current. Don't forget that new resources are coming available every year. It's easier than ever before to trace our roots - so stay abreast of the latest developments.
Don't give up, no matter how hopeless things will look from time to time. There is always an angle that can be pursued, so be flexible.
Stop worrying about adding another generation, or another branch of the family. Instead, try to put your family into context with what else was going on. Research the broader picture to get a better sense of the lives of your family.
Make sure that your expectations are realistic. It's much less frustrating when we appreciate what we can get, rather than fretting about what is probably not possible. Our goals should be learn as much as we can, in a general sense. Putting too much emphasis on one person or line can cause us to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Spread the gospel! When you talk about genealogy, remind people that it's more than simply collecting family information. An effective family historian will need to be a good communicator with a deep interest in history and geography - and an understanding of libraries and archives as well. Doing quality genealogical research is not as easy as it may look.
And above all else, have fun! This is your hobby, and nobody else can tell you how it should be done. Use whatever techniques work for you, and pursue whatever lines you choose.
Updates? Corrections? Better examples? Send an e-mail to Dave
Updated February 25, 2007