The Genealogy Journey

The newbie genealogist's resource for books, mags, databases, and -- of course -- any free research stuff to be found on the Internet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Dive Into Genealogy Books and Magazines Reveals a Basic Plan

Last Friday I bought “Genealogy Online for Dummies” and two genealogy magazines: Family Tree and Family Chronicles. (I haven’t read enough of the magazines to decide which one I like better – I’ll let you know later.) I thought the book was a good deal for $24.99 because it includes a CD with genealogy software (like a basic version of Family Tree Maker), but I was annoyed when I saw that Amazon had it for $16.49. Geesh. If I weren't so lazy and hadn’t already underlined the good parts in pencil, I’d be tempted to bring it back and buy the Amazon book.

Enough of the whining. What I got out of the book so far is a basic “plan of attack:”

(This first step is my own suggestion.)
1. Before you begin, think about how much time you can devote to your genealogy search and how far back you want to go. For instance, my dad has over 1,000 names in Family Tree Maker, but hasn’t traced our ancestors back over the pond to Ireland. That’s a time commitment he’s not ready to make yet. I think if you clarify the number of hours per week you will devote to this and set some boundaries (“No ancestors before the Medieval Period!”), you’ll keep yourself from burn out.

2. Write down as much of your own history as you can. Birth, schools, homes, marriages, children, and so forth.

3. Interview relatives. (No séances necessary – just the living ones.)

4. Gather together any paper records you or your relatives may have.

5. Look for censuses for additional information.

6. Start out with one relative. You can visit a site like to search for the best genealogy Web site to start with.

7. As you work, add information to a genealogy database (besides Family Tree Maker, some other genealogy software is: Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic).

8. Occasionally stop to print out your family tree and locate “holes” of missing information. Keep plugging away at it using steps 6 and 7.

That’s it!

Of course, each of these steps has sub-steps of their own, but that’s the basic plan. Looking at it that way, it doesn’t seem so intimidating, does it?

~Mary Kaye


At 10:16 PM, Blogger Tina Lorenz said...

Good job Mary Kaye!



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