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A Month for Genealogists

October is a great time to set goals that can be fulfilled during the month or continued for many more months.


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Resource: Tracing Lines
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October is Family History Month. During this month we can celebrate our ancestry. It is also a great time to set goals that can be fulfilled during the month or continued for many more months. The celebration and continuance of our ancestry and research does not have to stop on November 1st. Here are some ideas ...

1. If you are using genealogical software, such as Family Tree Maker, Reunion, etc., open your family files and become familiar once again with your ancestry. If your information is not documented, now is a great time to start correcting old habits. Develop research plans to continue your research. Lineages not worked on continuously become stale and new perspectives brings new ideas for continuing research.

2. Do documents or photographs need to be scanned? Now is a great time to begin that project. Go back through old photographs and determine if they have all been identified and labeled. Search the Internet for photographs that might belong to your family. Good sites for this are:


Ancient Faces

3. Genealogists are collectors, not only of ancestors and relatives, but notes, papers, books and periodicals. Go through those notes and pieces of papers and determine what is useful. Is pertinent information entered into your computerized family file? Is it documented? With all the information on Internet, particularly digitized images and indexes, perhaps you do not need some of the books or periodicals that you have collected. Can papers be scanned and saved into a different format, such as a PDF file and burned to a CD-ROM?

4. Internet is popular with genealogists. There are many subscription databases available. If you are not interested in subscribing, inquire at your local or area library about accessing the LE (Library Edition) or HeritageQuest thorough your library membership. More information on libraries subscribing to HeritageQuest can be found at eogen-HeritageQuestOnline,

5. This month look for new web pages and databases on Internet. It is a popular month for announcing new genealogical items. One of the first places to check is Cyndi's List at On the left hand side of the open page click on Browse on New Links. The links grow by the day on this list, so don't forget to check it often.

6. Use a search engine, such as Google,, to find more about your ancestors. In an advanced search enter a full name and then supplement it with further information, such as name of spouse and/or places they lived. If there are no hits to your query, try a different approach with the information entered. Do you really know where your ancestor lived? Search for town, city, county and state information and maps.

7. Celebrate Family History Month by attending a genealogical society meeting. Consider joining and showing your support. Being around other genealogists can be helpful, particularly when sharing research ideas. You will come home enlightened and refreshed. A directory of genealogical and historical societies can be found at

8. Read a book about effective genealogical research. There are many methodology books on the market today. Perhaps your local library has some. If not, consider asking the librarian to obtain one on interlibrary loan. Some of my favorites are:

Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, third edition. Salt Lake City: Ancestry

Publishing, 2006.

Croom, Emily Anne. The Sleuth Book for Genealogists. Cincinnati:

Betterway Books, 2000.

Meyerink, Kory L. Printed Sources, A Guide to Published Genealogical

Records. Salt Lake City, Ancestry, Inc., 1998.

There are many more on the market. Consider buying one in celebration of the family history month. Don't leave it on the bookshelf until October 2007 ... keep reading it.

9. What is your nationality? Do you have German, French, Italian, Swedish ancestors? Or other foreign ancestry? This month study your foreign ancestry. Look for Internet web sites that contain historical and genealogical information about foreign countries. A good place to begin searching is Cyndis List,

10. Spend one day celebrating a specific ancestor or family unit. Prepare a dialogue about the ancestor or family and present it to your family. Continue the celebration by having maps and photographs on display. It doesn't stop there. Prepare a meal with recipes handed down in the family. If you live near the burial site of ancestors, visit their graves and pay respect to your ancestors.

There are more fun activities associated with October ... Family History Month. They don't need to stop on November 1st, but can be continued throughout the year. Genealogy is always a celebration of family.

Source Information: Tracing Lines, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.

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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