After years of genealogy research, I want to share methods and tips to help you fortify your family tree.
My years in the business world have taught me the value of following "best practices"—that's what I'd like all genealogists to do.
If we each create high-quality, verifiable, ultra-fortified family trees, maybe someday it will be possible to link everyone on earth in an incomprehensibly large family tree chart. Only then can people say they’re related to every king and celebrity ever known…albeit distantly.
To help you fortify your family tree and give you the confidence to stand behind your research, I’ll share several best practices and principles for producing a truly high-quality family tree.
- Show us what you’ve found. Capture images of every genealogy document you find, and provide enough information to make your path to this discovery reproducible by other genealogists.
- Explain your sources. There are several books available on proper citation of genealogical sources. I prefer to keep it simple (e.g., “1930 U.S. Census” or “U.S. Social Security Death Index”). Provide enough detail so any other genealogical researcher can find the same item for themselves.
- Paint the entire picture. Completeness of records tells others that your information is accurate. Search every available Federal and state census for each family. Search military documentation for the men who were of age at the right time, ship manifests for every family member who traveled to another country, and birth, marriage and death records.
- Be consistent. Develop patterns in the language and style you use so you are giving facts and documenting your images in a consistent, logical, sensible way. This consistency will create reliability.
- Follow through. Develop a game plan that you can follow whenever you’re able to carve out some time for genealogy. Focusing on your plan will make you much more productive while fortifying your tree.
Join me as I detail these principles and practices and provide concrete examples that will increase the quality of your legacy—your family tree.