Wondering how to make the most of your family history research this year?
As with all genealogical research, you must begin with yourself. You’ll need:
A sense of humor Misspelled names, poor indexing, out of print reference books. What’s a family history researcher to do? Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you risk smearing the print on your great-grandfather’s birth certificate.
Eagle eyes What’s that up ahead on the right, over the steep hill, around a sharp curve, behind that clump of trees? A cemetery of course! Hit the brakes!
Flexibility How many young whipper snappers could spend eight hours crawling around a dusty repository storage room filled with boxes and books? Tell a genealogist one of those boxes may contain the probate records of his 5th great-grandmother and you’ll see dance moves like you’ve never seen.
A keen sense of direction All the world is looking toward the future, but we genealogists are keenly focused on the past. We may not know much about what’s going on today, but ask us about an event from 1865 or 1787 and we’re all over it.
X-ray vision The image on the microfilm may be blurred, black along the edges and torn down the middle, but any genealogist worth her salt will be able to read the names and dates on the marriage record of her 16th century European ancestors.
An amiable nature Patience is a virtue and being nice pays off big in the Land of Genealogy. Grumpy may be the only dwarf who recognizes the importance of that 1823 divorce record, but remember librarians, repository interns, county clerks and FHC volunteers are all people too. If the Golden Rule was the 1st rule of genealogy, climbing our family trees would be much more pleasant.
Math skills Riddle me this Batman; your ancestor is 34 years old in the 1920 census, 27 in the 1910 census, and 12 in the 1900 census. Quick – what year was she born?
Insomnia Staying up past 9 o’clock is a thing of the past UNLESS records are coming up fast and furious on Ancestry. Then it’s 3am before the blink of an eye – no coffee required!
An understanding spouse There is no dinner tonight Honey – but LOOK! I found great-aunt Edna’s high school yearbook picture!
Thick skin So what if your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the clerk at the drug store think you’re weird because you spend your off-hours with dead people. You are a Genealogy Superstar and you should be darn proud of that!