Find My Ancestor Blog

Beginning Genealogy Mistakes

Do you remember when you first started doing genealogy? For some, it was 50 years ago, while others it may just be a few months. Whether it was long ago or just recently, I'm sure most of us have made simple mistakes that later we look back and say "I wish I would have done this" or "I wish I would have know about that". We are all beginners at some point, and all have gotten excited and forgot to follow a few simple guidelines that would make our efforts much more enjoyable with less of a headache later on.

There are two main things that come to my mind that I wish I would have done differently when I started, organization and always recording my sources.

We all get so excited about finding a census record or death certificate that we forget to record where we got it from and later forget to file it away in the cooresponding folder and before we know it we have information, records, and piles of paper(or digital files) that we need to go through and organize and cite our sources. That can be difficult because sometimes we need to search again to find where we got the record and then determine where it needs to be filed.

I am extremely guilty with both of those things. I admit that I have a hard time remembering to cite the source and know "how" to do so, but I know that as I learn more about how to do these things and actually DO them, it will help me in the long run.

I am interested in other things that you think are important and would help to do if you were or are a beginner at genealogy. Let me know what you think and I will be doing a follow-up blog on things you think are important when beginning genealogy.


Where Did You Get That Information?

As most of us know or at least should know, citing our sources is one of the most important things when we are doing our genealogy. But, how many of us are exact in citing our sources, recording in our research logs, and all of the other forms that are supposed to help us keep our genealogy organized and accurate? I know I am guilty of getting excited over finding a record or document and forgetting to cite where I got the information and then later asking myself where I got it.

One of my Genealogy New Year's Resolutions is to go through all of the research I have done so far and make sure I have all of my info correctly sourced and to actually use those forms like the research calendar, research log, and correspondence log to help me get all of my research organized.

I recently purchased Organize Your Genealogy Life CD from Family Tree Magazine and am reading through those articles and tips to get all my stuff organized. I am hoping that I can read through that and get things squared away. I am pretty good at keeping things organized once they are organized, but to get to that point is where I sometimes have trouble. Of course my biggest problem with my organization right now is I don't have the space for it. If I had a bigger space to "spread out" I could easily organize all my documents, photos, charts, etc.

I am interested to see who out there has also used the techniques taught in the Organize Your Genealogy Life CD and what your input is on it. Do you use another organizing technique to keep all of your genealogy organized. Or, are you kind of like me and haven't created an organization system yet and need some help.