I visited my Grandma Jane to talk about family history, because she is a pro. She has a file system to organize all the information and a computer program that ties everything together. When I came, she was scanning photographs and uploading them to the program so that you could see a picture of the person along with all of their genealogical data (two points because I spelled genealogical right).
I love family history. I told my sister as we were driving home that I love it in part because it is endless: I can safely say that I can do it for the rest of my life and never, ever run out of work to do. There is more information to gather, more records to look at, and, most of all, more organizing to do. Family history is essentially gathering and organizing information.
We worked through some sticky parts of some information on the new Family Search site. The goal of the site is essentially to make a global family tree, but there are so many errors to fix on the way. One of my ancestors was combined a few times with her sister-in-law. Another line had so many William Halls that they were all twisted up together, and parents were born after children were born, and some other things. Sometimes, there is just missing information that you search and search for and can’t ever seem to find.
It was so much fun learning from my grandma and working together on our family history.
Here are some ideas for you:
- Write about the people you know, and any stories you remember about your ancestors.
- Don’t be overwhelmed: just do a little at a time, and be happy with the little you do.
- Look for stories and pictures. These help you connect with the ancestor.
- Ask for help! Family history is not a solitary thing, ever. You need the information that other people have, so ask them for it. Work with them.
- Find what you like to do. Maybe you like statistics, or you like pouring through records, or you like organizing, or you just like reading stories. Don’t make it hard on yourself–enjoy every moment!