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What is Genealogy?
Genealogy is the process of researching your family tree. It is a fascinating and often addicting hobby. It can create bonds and friendships between family members and even distant relatives. It often engenders deep respect and awe for ancestors. You probably will uncover a few skeletons along the way. It's okay, we all have them. So, get started and have some fun!

How do I get started?
Start with a pedigree chart. Write down all the relatives you know - starting with yourself, of course. Add siblings and parents. Don't forget uncles, aunts, cousins. Everyone fits into the picture. Talk to older realtives. They may not be as good at remembering what happened yesterday, but those characters can sure remember what happened 25, 50, even 75 years ago. They love to talk so let them. Ask them if you can tape record the session. And ask questions. They remember the strangest things. Like nicknames and odd habits. Their stories help to create images of real people in your mind, not just names and dates. Ask them if they have any pictures that you can have or get copied. Write the names and dates on the backs of the pictures. You may not remember who they are after they have gone.

Genealogy Survival Tips

  • Never be caught without a notebook handy.
  • Always write down where you found your information. If you have to go back to get more information you won't be forced to rely only on your memory. Remember, you are dealing with a lot of details.
  • Find a filing system that works for you and use it.
  • Researcing geneaology tends to run in spurts. If you associate with others who are doing reasearch they will keep your enthusiam going. Also, remember to give more of your time to the living - in other words - don't forget your living family!
  • Don't get discouraged if you run into brick walls.Take a break from that line and research a different ancestor. You can always go back to the original when you feel energized. Also, there are different sources for information, if you hit one dead end, try another avenue.
  • Always verify your information. Handwriting is difficult to read. Even public documents can have misspellings. Be careful. And for whatever reason, sometimes people don't tell the truth. They may be embarrassed by the "black sheep" of the family or just plain didn't like them. I had an uncle who disliked his grandfather so much (for deserting the family) that he wouldn't tell me where his grandfather was buried (and he knew.)


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