Genealogy with Lisa Marker: #2 Are you Nuts?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are you nuts? Why would anyone want to do genealogy?

Reasons include wanting to join an organization such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, religious reasons, or curiosity about medical history, Maybe it’s just plain old curiosity to find out who your ancestors were, what they were like, and whether the family lore is true. Finding this out for your children, and with them, can be lots of fun! Your ancestors are just waiting to be discovered.

Any of these goals can be met, and it is easy to get started.

First, gather information. You know a lot about yourself. Ask your family members - parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents - what they know and what documents they have. What you are looking for is information to help you pinpoint vital statistics for people, such as birth, marriage and death dates and places. You may also want to ask for information that brings these people to life - this is where it can get very interesting - obituaries, deeds, photos (wow, look at Aunt Margaret’s hairstyle!), school information, marriage records, military records, land records. These are but a few of what you might find. If you find that someone else in the family is already researching, definitely talk to them. Genealogy is all about sharing.

To find out more about methodology, I will recommend this incredible website: Cyndi's List.  There are thousands of links about all sorts of topics here. Peruse it, but don’t get overwhelmed if you are new to the hobby.

In the meantime, think about whether you would want to record your information on paper or on a computer, using a software program. 

Paper has been used for decades, so it is do-able. A computer program will connect everyone properly. You will be able to tell how every person is related and to create charts and reports very easily. You will also be able to communicate that information electronically to other genealogists much more easily.

Now go gather that information!

Oh, and the answer to that very first question - yes, most genealogists would confess to being a bit nuts!!


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