The tips represent my current strategies for performing genealogy.
- The most important thing is to ask my family questions.I base this on two facts:
- The data will be here forever (or at least as long as my lifetime), while the people will not.
- Access to and indexing of the data will only get better as time progresses.
- It is easier to ask my family questions if I show them some data. I realize this seems to contract number 1, but I have too may times interviewed someone in the family who thought they told me everything important they could recall, then, upon showing them a possible match in a birth record, had they say “that’s right, now that you show me that I do recall hearing about my mom’s Great Aunt Minnie!”
- All family stories are useful. I have found many times where there were provable elements of truth in a crazy family story and the crazy story helped me narrow down my research.
- If I can’t find a record proving it, it might not have happened. I capture all the family stories, but only capture as facts, the ones I can support with a record. As of yet, I avoid speculation.
- People created all the records I find. People make mistakes. While the records I can find are my best source for long gone ancestors, they are not 100% accurate.
- I need to document failed research as well as successes. Otherwise I waste time failing again later. I have confirmed this one.
- Share what I learn. My family is much more interested in taking the time to share information if they see the fruits of their labor. Also, if I share what I learn publicly, I am more likely to bump into a long lost relative also doing research, who stumbled across my information while researching.