The Humble Genealogist
by Linda Kirkpatrick
You see it on the television, over the radio, on internet ads: Search for your ancestors! Find the land of your people! What is your family story? Perhaps the better question to be asking is “Why would I want to research my family genealogy? and if I do, where would I even begin?”
Have you watched the shows of famous people traveling all over the world to find documents and historical information about their ancestors? The average person cannot afford the time, energy or expenses to travel around the world in one month, at the drop of a hat – or, finding of a fact in this case.
This 6-part article is here to help guide you along your journey of discovery, laying a firm foundation for you and your descendants to carry on the task for many generations ahead.
Part 1- What do I need? Tools of the trade are simple items you probably already have on hand. The ultimate tool would be a notebook or other computer, However, all you really needs is a pencil, quality eraser, pen, spiral notebook and I recommend an accordion type folder to put them all in. Why not a 3 ring binder? Too bulky and no secure storage. Why a pencil and quality eraser? You will be erasing often and most places you will actually go to, do not allow pens in their facility. An audio recorder, digital or the older style tape recorders. This will come in handy, for family gatherings, talking with a specific family member, on a tour that is connected to an ancestor or for you to use to talk out what you need or are reading. If you have access to a computer program to document your family history and pedigree, this will be most helpful, but it is not required.
Some people have wanted to see how far back in time they can go with their ancestors. Some are looking for the family their dad or mother never talk about. Perhaps it is a family medical issue that might be genetic. Whether it is for finding a member of the American Revolution, a passenger or pilot of the Mayflower, a traveler through Ellis Island, a criminal given a second chance in a new world. or a seeker of fortune, even a migration of people from a country that was in famine and are looking for a place to stay alive. Many of us ask ourselves: Who are you? What is the benefit of researching family? Where would I start? When would I have time? How would I go about it?
Let’s go to Part 2- Who do I start with and How do I start?
Update: Here is a great help video and here is a checklist
2nd video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXI8zq-V364