Notice I said “family history” and not “genealogy?” That’s because there’s actually specific standards and training required to become a certified genealogist. I am not a genealogist. I don’t even like to say I do “genealogy,” but that’s generally the label used for the family history research I love to do. If you see me use the word genealogy, it is in this informal sense.
I believe it’s important to decide early on what your reasons are for doing family history research and documentation. What you want to achieve will inform how you should proceed.
G is for Generational Sharing.
This is one of my goals. I have uncovered family connections to a number of famous or interesting people, but it’s the everyday lives of ancestors that is worthy of preservation. My children and extended family are only marginally interested now, but that might change. As a result of this goal, I need to keep in mind how I will keep my research accessible, especially as technology changes.
O is for Organization.
A clipping here, a family Bible there, before you know it, you have boxes of memorabilia and documentation that needs serious organization. And organization stamps out confusion, such as which “Jim Johnson” are we referring to, father or son? Your photo collection, too, can benefit from your family history efforts. I’ll have a whole blog post later on my numbering/naming system that lets me find documents and photos of individuals in just a few minutes.
A is for Addiction (um, Hobby)
Depending on how much free time you have on your hands, family history research can occupy many otherwise idle hours. The nice thing is that the fruit of your labor can be enjoyed for decades and by many people. At the very least, you’ll take research trips decades and centuries back in time, and it will keep you out of the stores.
L is for Lineage Society Membership
I’m not personally interested in seeking membership in the Mayflower Society or the Daughters of the American Revolution, but anyone who has such a goal should find the membership requirements up front. Proper documentation is key to gaining membership, so to avoid re-doing your research, learn how to collect and store documentation from the very start.
So, what are your goals? Post a reply to this blog and let’s have a group conversation.