If you are doing genealogical research on a hit and miss basis, spend October with a schedule for exploring genealogy web pages, going to the courthouse, library and cemetery. Determine which lines you want to research, remembering to set a goal and not complicate your research with too many to-dos. Look at your brickwalls which may have sent you reeling in the past to the extent that you wanted to never see them again. Maybe with a fresh perspective you can determine the problem.
In honor of those ancestors, start October off right by cleaning up your genealogy mess. Do you have piles of papers and documents that have not been transcribed or put in appropriate files? Is your genealogy area so messy you don't even want to struggle through the mess? Get organized before you celebrate Family History Month. Your research will be easier if you do it now, and try to keep it organized.
Is there a genealogy society in your town or area? There are most likely cordial people in it who will be willing to listen to your brickwall problem and try to come up with a solution. Perhaps the programs they offer will be interesting and pertain to your research. Some societies have special groups, such as computer groups and groups for foreign countries such as Ireland and Germany. A good place to find listings of genealogy societies is at Society Hill-The Directory of Historical and Genealogical Societies, http://www.daddezio.com/society/.
Schools often need volunteers for programs. If you are an avid genealogist with a talent for sharing your knowledge, inquire if they need a program on family history. This could even include a field trip to the local library or cemetery. Be sure to bring charts, old photographs and anything to strengthen and add interest to the presentation.
October is a great month to get out the family photographs and start identifying them, categorizing them, perhaps scanning them or placing them in albums. This doesn't have to end on October 31st. Genealogy never ends! Spend one hour during October as a family event reading or telling about an ancestor. Just hearing their story will help you understand your family history.
Explore the web pages on Internet that you have not checked for sometime. New information is being added continually. If the budget allows, treat yourself to a subscription database. Look at queries and leave queries on Internet in places like message boards and forums. Some of those include GenForum, http://genforum.genealogy.com/ and Ancestry's Message Board, http://community.ancestry.com/default.aspx. Join mailing lists for areas and surnames that you research. Check out Mailing Lists Hosted by Rootsweb at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maillist/. Look for your ancestors in online cemetery records, such as FindAGrave, http://www.findagrave.com.
If you belong to a genealogy society, suggest events that the group can do for Family History Month. These might include help sessions for beginning genealogists, classes or workshops, lock-ins at the library, and group trips to the cemetery. Strengthen your ties to your ancestors by working as a group in sharing talents and energy.
Don't forget a visit in October to your Family History Center (LDS). Check out their open dates and hours. They now have a number of free databases available to patrons. You can also order microfilm to use within the Family History Center. To locate a Family History Center near you go to this web page, http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp?PAGE=library_fhc_find.asp.
Put on your thinking cap and make October 2009 the best Family History Month ever!
Source Information: Tracing Lines, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2009.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
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