Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Monday, June 10, 2019

#184--Dear Diary


Dear Diary—
     I have been doing genealogy for over 20 years and I wanted to tell you what I wish I knew when I started out.  In those days, genealogy was not as popular pastime and there were not many ways to learn.  So I really taught myself.  Here is what I wish I knew then:
1. Start out by talking to your relatives to find out what they know.  Realize that some of that information is probably not correct.
2. Create separate trees for different lines.  That makes finding people easier. A tree with 600 people is easier to manage than one with 10,000.
3. Document every fact that you use.  While you think you will remember where it came from, you will not.
4. Develop a system for keeping track of the papers.  For example, use a notebook for each line or use a folder system on a flash drive.
5. Use a variety of different online resources.  Many of them have different information on them.
6. Be very careful and skeptical of information in family trees that are on line.  You have no idea where that information came from and it may or may not be correct.  Think of it as a clues to be followed.
7. Local histories contain a great deal of valuable information about what happened while your ancestors lived there and may have biographies of them.
8. Visit local history/genealogy libraries.  Talk to the staff, they are a wealth of information
9. If you can, go on research trips with a group, e.g. New England Historic and Genealogical Society. There should be lectures, research assistance, and a chance to talk to other people doing genealogical research.
10. Join at least one national genealogy group and the local societies where you have ancestors.  Good access to local information.
11. Everyone has a brick wall.  Work on it periodically, but do not obsess over it.
12. Connect with other people, probably cousins of some kind, who are working on your lines.  It is fun to work together.

Good Luck.


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