approach to genealogy research. Let's look at the specific building blocks that can make anyone a productive and efficient family tree researcher.
I don't want to short-change any of these concepts, so this article is in two parts. You'll find a link to part 2 at the bottom of this article.
1. Spell Out Your Goals
Did you make your list of genealogy goals for 2018? I made a list that I look at anytime I feel like I'm searching for documents without a specific goal.
Sometimes it's fun to go off on research tangents. But it's far more rewarding to focus on a goal and make real progress. Your goals might be to:
- find a specific ancestor's parents
- clean up your source citations
- add details to every photograph and document image in your family tree
- prove a family story true or false
Come back to your goals again and again and whittle down the list.
2. Cast a Wide Net
I spent five years making trips to my local Family History Center. I ordered microfilm (it's available online now) from my maternal grandfather's hometown in Italy. I knew nothing beyond his parents' names, so I wanted to find out more.
I soon realized I couldn't tell who was related to me unless I pieced together all the families. So at the center I typed the data from each birth, marriage and death record. At home I entered it all into Family Tree Maker. In the end, I had a tree with 15,000 people. More than 10,000 of them had a connection to me.
|Cast a wide net to capture all your ancestor's siblings and their children.|
Find those siblings and you can begin to identify your ancestor's close cousins. You're going to want those names when you're reviewing your DNA matches.
3. Take Advantage of Software
|Here's a small piece of my priceless |
vital record collection.
And thank goodness I found GetLinks. Using GetLinks, I easily downloaded thousands and thousands of vital records from 7 of my ancestral hometowns in Italy.
Don't do things the hard way when other genealogy whizzes have created a solution for you.
Please continue to part 2 of this article. I get into the nuts and bolts of my genealogy philosophy with 3 more building blocks.