16    Jan 201229 comments

What’s your best piece of genealogy advice?

Have a think about your best genealogy advice...

We all remember our first forays into the world of family research.

"Where do I look?", "How do I physically record the information?" and "What on earth is a GEDCOM file?" are just a few of the many questions that went through my mind when starting out.

Now, if somebody who had "been there and done that" could have provided some advice about the importance of citing sources or, indeed, the art of deciphering census handwriting, my research would have been significantly more efficient!

Over the next three days, we're going to be asking our learned community to share advice for budding or even experienced genealogists.

Simply post your advice on our Facebook Page, Tweet it to us @MyHeritage using the hashtag #MyHGenealogyAdvice or comment on this blog post below. Your advice should be no more than two sentences and should be as concise as possible.

Two winners will be picked at random and will each receive a one-year PremiumPlus MyHeritage and WorldVitalRecords subscription.

By submitting your entry (using any means above) you agree to the Terms and Conditions of the competition which can be found here.

Search for your ancestors:

Comments (29) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Hi all,
    I suppose the best piece of advice I could give is carry a pen and note book in your handbag all the time. The reason I say this is when you are out and about visiting or shopping you never know who you may run into and what kind of information they will have for you and rather than trying to remember it write it down. I found this a valued thing to carry around.
    Good luck with your family trees.
  2. However, it's always important to get as close as possible to the original source. Online indexes or transcriptions are great finds but the key then is to get hold of the original document. The extra step of finding the original record is often well worth the challenge. But, the real gift in original records is that they often have valuable details you would never get in an indexed or transcribed record. I love genealogy because I get to use my 6th sense. When you get hold of an original document, you often become more in-touch with the state, the city, the community, the church, the school, whatever, it may be. Better understanding the institutions your ancestor was involved with will help give you a feel for their lives.
  3. Write everything you find exactly as written and double/ triple check everything for confirmation of a link. Talk to as many 'older generations' as possible - regrets are far too many when they are no longer with us :)
    Enjoy it :)
  4. The best bit of advice I can give any Jewish researcher is to try to get a good accounting of the Hebrew/Yiddish names of ancestors and family members. Some times knowing those names is the key to cracking a mystery since Jews name (usually) after the deceased. You can work on a pattern and work your way very far back by understanding family Hebrew/Yiddish given names.
  5. Don't stop looking, even when you think you have all the information you need or want, there is probably more. Look at anything and everything related to your subject, keep the collateral ancestors in mind and dig around in every archive you can get into. Then when you have everything you can get on that person or family look at the history of the neighborhood or community. This can give you a sense of their environment and community. Then look at state and national history, don't forget to consider the political climate and the economy.
  6. Interview as many family members as possible, especially your elders...write it all down and cross check their memories with as many sources as possible. Don't throw away letters or notes, keep them filed by family/person.
  7. my advice is to always carry on your bag a handheld scanner like this: It is so useful to scan family pictures without having to bring their albums home! And great to go to the library and get your records instead of having to go to the copier for each page. Post its are also not a new thing, but they sure are handy to organize your pictures and documents without overwritting on them.
  8. my advice is to always carry on your bag a handheld scanner like this: http://www.techfresh.net/skypix-handheld-scanner-for-busy-professionals/ It is so useful to scan family pictures without having to bring their albums home! And great to go to the library and get your records instead of having to go to the copier for each page. Post its are also not a new thing, but they sure are handy to organize your pictures and documents without overwritting on them.
  9. Even vital records can be wrong. Have two pieces of documented proof before you consider it fact.
  10. Always cite your source and where you found that source, no matter how little the information you gather or unimportant it might seem at the time. Write down the date, time and place of your interviews.
  11. Family information is great, but I found that passed down information is not always accurate, so double check it with documents and other information found on various sites. I use many sites. I found a link between My family and my wife's family on the DAR website. I also use Find a Grave memorials. I once requested a picture of an uncles grave site and after the volunteer sent the picture, It had 2 other family member names on the picture. I also found another cousin thru them. I also use Rootsweb and familysearch.org and Ancestory.com. I have also found lost relations that I haven't seen in over 50 years and some I have never met. So keep on searching. Sooner or later you will find something.
  12. Make sure you publish what you've got on Myheritage.com or any of the other websites. As we have so many ancestors in common, many people will be interested enough in the members of your tree to share their information and will come looking for you!

    There is a tipping point which when you have a certain number of ancestors published, the hints, tips and contacts will take off exponentially...
  13. Leverage the power of online resources to your benefit. Technology can be a great tool.
  14. Don't forget the family Bibles, some have a weath of information, that was recorded as they happen. Often you can find errors that have been recorded on sites through this research.
  15. Family information is great, but I found that passed down information is not always accurate, so double check it with documents and other information found on various sites. Use Rootsweb and familysearch.org, DAR, Myheritage, and Ancestry.com and keep checking as they always update their information.
  16. After More than 20 Years of Working on a Shoe String About the Best advice I can Offer is When you find information Relating to the Name you have been looking for Keep it Handy in at least 2 Places and check all dates and where it came from. --If the date is Close and (2 Years or less) it be the Same one, if you find 3 Sources Go with the Closest ones.--Note each one from Who and where info was Given/ Got. ---Leave a Record of your Life for Who ever is Doing Research on You !---
  17. Upload as many photos as you can to your family site. It is the best way to attract your relatives!
  18. People often didn't know their exact ages so don't be put off by dates that appear to conflict.
  19. Think laterally! You may have to go the long way round to get the answer you need!
  20. Talk or phone as many as possible of your older relatives, have questions prepared, ask for their help. write it down and cross reference.
  21. If your ancestors were Catholic, contact the Archdioces from that area. They can check the old church records. Contact the historical society and library from their area too for records and obits.
  22. Remember when you are building a family tree you have the key to not just to your life, but to all the lives that are in that tree. You have the key to great joy and happiness but also to sorrow and sometimes to things you would rather not know, be careful as you walk in other peoples footsteps.
  23. Keep a special notebook just for genealogy and carry it everywhere. If you chat with a relative, make a note of who, what, when, where. Things that don't seem relevant at the time could be invaluable in the future. If you go to a record office or library, note when, where and what you looked for and what you found (or didn't find), especially the document reference number. Saves you forgetting what you searched for and repeating the search. Plus if it's all in one notebook, you know exactly where to look. When that notebook's full, keep it safe and start another!
  24. I use on the mobile (Android). Now Myheritage always with me!
  25. Thank you to My Heritage, for let our family to see how nice a Family tree end and grew with all names and photos, At last Face Book, where I got contact with the famlily "Young Generation". I also got a big family in USA for my husband family side and my family side. Witch we do not anything about before. Lovely to get contact with them
  26. Always carry your camera with you. If you do find a birth, death, or grave site, tkae a picture of it. And post that picture in your your tree at the appropriate place so everyone can see the "REAL" date!
  27. My advice, never leave your grandparents or grandaunts and uncles sides, ask questions and write down whatever they tell you.
    I received a lot of information that way, but I made the mistake of not writing it down. I would be lucky to remember 50% of what I was told, but I'm still 50% in front. In those days though, I had no idea I would be doing my family history long after they've gone.
  28. Record the date of your research in archives, libraries or online, as well as citation information. It saves time when writing up your research as many repositories require that citations include the date the material was accessed. I use the date field on the citation page in Family Tree Builder to record the date I accessed information.
  29. My mother was an avid genealogist for over 50 years and I regret that I didn't become interested until this past year. I am now 75 years old. So my advise is to get your children and grandchildren interested if you can and secondly take the time to write down your own stories of past events that have a special meaning to you.

Leave a comment

Submit

Please type a comment
Please enter a name
Please enter an email address

No trackbacks yet.

About us  |  Privacy  |  Tell a friend  |  Support  |  Site map
Copyright © 2014 MyHeritage Ltd., All rights reserved