For good reason; if you fail to begin in the correct fashion, your will either continue in poor form resulting in a poor product for your work or you will give up all together after a few days.
“Who’s going to help me?” “What do I do with all these charts and forms?” “Where do I start?” “When do I go to the courthouse?” “Why is this so harrrrd?!” “How do you do this?”
Fair questions, however, with a bit of reflection, planning, and education, one can have the answers before you begin.
The result should be progress in a fairly smooth manner to a fine finished product.
As if family history research can ever be truly “finished.”
The first thing you need to decide before you begin your research is the answer to the following question: “Why am I going to attempt to research my family history?” In other words, “What is the goal of my research?”
Most people who set out on a journey begin with a destination in mind. That destination may change. Or the person may reach the destination and then decide to journey farther or in a different direction.
So, keep in mind that family history research is a journey. It is most certainly NOT a quick trip to the grocery for milk and toilet paper.
Now then, go decide your “Why?”
Below are a few of the more common reasons—use one of them or figure out your own goal.
· to learn where your people came from and why they left
· to preserve family traditions and discover their origins
· so that your children will know who their people were
· to put together a book of your family’s history
· to establish lineage in order to qualify for membership in a lineage or other society
· to discover the medical history of your ancestors
See you next week with your “Why?”! Feel free to share them in the comment section below—perhaps your “Why?” can help someone else figure out their “Why?”
Next week will begin a three (or possibly more!) part series on first steps in genealogical research.
Keep in mind that this weekend could yield a treasure trove of information about your family—it’s Fourth of July weekend! LOTS of reunions and get-togethers will happen. It could be a great opportunity to ask several different relatives questions about the family.
Not sure what to ask? Kimberly Powell has a marvelous list of family history interview questions at About.com Genealogy. Add to or take away from the list to suit the occasion, the relatives you are interviewing, and the amount of time you have to spend with each relative.
Lastly, but most importantly, write down or record the questions and answers making sure you document the date, time, location and the full name of the person giving the answers. You’ll need that information later as you build your family history.
And, HAVE FUN!