Tag Archives: basics

Getting Started in Genealogy

starting genealogy studies

Getting started with genealogy

By Terri Paajanen

You’re getting interested in finding out more about your family tree, your ancestors and all things genealogical? That’s great. So now where do you begin?

The very first step for getting started in genealogy is record what you already know. That makes your foundation. Take notes with printed pedigree sheets or start using a software program. Fill in all the names and dates that you already know. Even if you don’t immediately know the years of your relatives births, at least record the month and day if you know it. Basically, everything and anything. (more…)

11 Feb 2013

Basics of Vital Records

vital records in genealogyVital records are the absolute cornerstone to any genealogy research so you really need to have a good understanding of these documents and what you can learn from them. The term refers to any files that pertain to a vital event in someones life, such as birth, death or marriage. Divorce records are sometimes grouped in here too.

These will create the basic framework when putting someone’s life together. And each of these types of documents can provide a lot more information than just a name and an event date. Some vital records can give you loads of data, but the specifics will vary from area to area since these are not standard documents in any way. (more…)

09 Feb 2013

Back Up Your Data

how to back up genealogy files

Computers can have problems, so back everything up!

After all that hard work to build your family tree and collect your ancestor’s heritage, don’t put it at risk due to some unexpected computer problems. Of course, those of us who are keeping our genealogy data on paper have a little less to worry about and this won’t apply quite the same way. But anyone with their research on a computer could face heartbreak in a moment when your hard drive crashes. And it can happen with no notice whatsoever. Trust me.

Doing data back ups is common enough and most genealogy software programs will let you create a secondary back up file every time you use it. But that usually just makes another file of your data that sits elsewhere on your computer, in case you accidentally delete a family line or something. It’s still in danger from any overall computer failures.

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25 Dec 2012

Hiring a Pro

Just like with any project or hobby, sometimes you need the services of a professional. Someone who may have better skills and access to better resources than you. Genealogy is no different than other pursuits.

Whether you need someone to help with your actual research, or you want to hire someone to compile a family history book, finding the right professional is important. Here are some resources on finding a professional, as well as other articles on what you should look for when hiring someone to help you with your research. (more…)

22 Dec 2012

When You Hit a Brick Wall

when you hit a brick wall in your family tree

Watch out for the brick wall in genealogy

Ah, the genealogy brick wall. We all have at least one of them, if not several. Some relation who we cannot get past. A person with unknown parentage and who cannot seem to be found anywhere. I have a few techniques that might help you get past your latest brick wall, and maybe even prevent the next one.

Look Sideways – Rather than only following your own line of ancestry, try looking at siblings and other family members for the information you need. Here’s an example to make this more clear. My grandfather’s parents are my biggest brick wall. I basically had only their names, from my grandfather’s birth registration (I never knew them personally). After many long months searching for more details, I came across my great-aunt’s marriage registration. (more…)

21 Dec 2012

Planning a Research Trip

You should always plan out your genealogy research trips, even if it’s just a quick stop in at the local library in town. Long-distance road trips aren’t the only outings that deserve some time, attention and planning. Working efficiently means you are more likely to be successful in your search, no matter what you’re looking for.genealogy research

Pack what you need – Sure a quick trip may not need any supplies, but that’s why you’re planning ahead to make sure. For longer trips, you will want to have a supply of paper and pens, or whatever electronic device you use for taking notes. Add some post-it notes, paper clips, file folders and labels as well. If you are more technically minded, bring along your pocket scanner and digital camera too. Do not forget change for the photocopier or microfilm machine. (more…)

16 Dec 2012

Why Research Genealogy?

general-tree-diagramWell, that’s a good question. Why put in the hours (and hours) of research in order to do nothing but compile a complicated list of names and dates? Why lose your desk under a mountain of books, papers, records and old photographs?

This is the kind of question that if you’re asking it, you likely aren’t really that interested in genealogy. This isn’t something a person does for a reason. At least, not a tangible reason. (more…)

16 Dec 2012