This may seem like an obvious statement, but even the best researchers think, “Oh, I’ll remember where I found this, and come back to it”, or “I’ll remember to ask Grandma Kate about that”… I have found that if I do not record something correctly right away, I may remember it incorrectly or not remember where I saw or heard it.
While you begin your genealogy project, you will most likely be provided a lot of information orally from family members. You will need to be prepared to take notes and have a good system for short hand or your own set of symbols you can recall easily to make your notes understandable to you.
Family tree research is just like detective work. You may only have a small piece of the puzzle and you need to find the other pieces to complete your tree. Each detail can be very important to confirm or disprove another detail you have found. Does it connect? That is a question you will be asking yourself over and over again throughout your research.
There are so many researchers out there looking into their family trees and oh so many mistakes! It is easier then you may think to make a mistake in your family research. I will talk about a variety of mistakes you may run into during your research in a later post, but generally these mistakes can be avoided by double checking facts and never taking information from another researcher (even family) without having documentation and/or a source. – Question everything.
My family history research was started back in 1999 and has developed and grown over time. I have learned a lot about how to do research, some do’s and don’ts and some tips that I wish I had known when I first began.
One quite exciting, but also overwhelming fact about family tree research is that each of us has multiple “branches” to research. Each of these branches has its own place of origin, as well as its own unique stories and facts. This makes it difficult to choose which branch to research first and where to begin.
I had not really thought much about my family tree until I entered college at Bethel College in Roseville, MN. (I graduated from there when it was still a “college” and not a university yet). I was taking courses to obtain a teaching degree for Early childhood education through sixth grade. I had a class (I cannot recall the name of the class), but during this class , we were given the task to create a family tree. Up to this point in my life, I had not spent any time thinking about my family history, where my family came from or making time to “get to know” my history through stories.