Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting Bitten By The Genealogy Bug

By way of background, I have been researching my family history for approximately five years. I credit (or blame) my cousin Megan with getting me interested because she brought a family tree to our last family reunion. The tree contained both the Keough and Murphy families in draft form (lots of blanks) which led me to wonder about the research behind it and the sources to support it.

Megan generously offered to share the information she had gathered to-date and turned me on to a wonderful website for researching Newfoundland roots - Newfoundland's Grand Banks (see the link to the left) The site is made up of volunteers who transcribe, photograph and share all types of source material related to Newfoundland. It is important to keep in mind that this is a continuing effort as information is added on a regular basis. One caveat for all researchers - the information contained on the website is only the tip of the iceberg. I plan to discuss how I have used this website to assist in my research in the future. If you have Newfoundland connections, you will want to make this your first on-line research stop AND you will want to keep coming back for more.

Once I had an opportunity to review the information Megan provided to me, I decided to learn a bit more about the process and methodology of family history research (I am a bit of a reader). I spent some time and effort checking out genealogy programs, websites, and blogs and I joined a few genealogy societies in order to further my knowledge base. As I got more into the process and methodology of research I learned that, contrary to what you may have heard, you will not find your family in minutes or days and much of what is on the internet in terms of family trees is long on entries and short on backup - be thorough in your research before adding family members to your tree!

For anyone starting out (and at five years in, I am still a newbie) a great way to learn about the process as well as how to work through your family history and put those lessons into practice is with a free podcast series entitled Family History: Genealogy Made Easy by Lisa Louise Cooke (see the link to the left).  Each of her podcasts is a half hour in length, covers a specific topic, and walks you through the maze that is family history research one step (or podcast) at a time. Start with Episode 1 ~ Get Inspired, Get Started! and work your way through the series. You won't be disappointed, you will learn a great deal about how to research your family history and you will save time on the trial and error most researchers go through in getting a handle on process and methodology.  (Once you get through the primer you should check out Lisa Louise Cooke's continuing podcast series entitled Genealogy Gems and corresponding website.)

Do you have any favorite genealogy podcasts or websites that have helped you learn the "nuts and bolts" of genealogy?

Next time ~ my plans for this blog.

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