‘To know one’s family is to know one’s own’, as the saying goes. For some, immediate family may be enough, but for others, it may be a case of ‘curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back’ (enough motivation quotes for you?).
Here are our top tips for the curious cats of the world wanting to research their family history.
Ask as many questions as you can! One thing many aspiring genealogists have regretted is not asking their older family members questions before they passed away. Doing so may help fill in those gaps and fit your family jigsaw together piece by piece!
This may be optional for some of you, depending on your learning style, but it’s a good way to make the process come alive. Drawing out your family tree and adding to it as you learn more, is a great way to get other members of your family involved, especially any children.
It’s one thing being creative, but it’s another thing to be organised. Keep a note of all your discoveries, so you can come back to it later. You may not think it, but many genealogists fail to record their findings. One small thing makes a huge difference and can save you a whole heap of time in the long run. Another positive is that all this information can be turned into a story. Put it all in a notebook to keep or pass it onto your family members.
We all hit brick walls at some point, but it’s not worth giving up all hope if you do so. Just remember how far you’ve come! If you hit a dead-end early on, however, that’s a little tricky. You’re more inclined to stop completely, feeling as if you’re getting nowhere. If that’s the case, it may be worth simplifying things. For example, searching for your mother’s maiden name instead of her married name, nicknames, and vice versa. Look at locations and make your searches less broad. Sometimes casting a wide net, doesn’t catch any fish.
As was mentioned in the ‘Do’s’, ask anyone and everyone. You don’t have to do this all alone. See if your friends or family members would like to get involved! You’ll most definitely get a fair few top tips and suggestions if they have done family history research before.
Involving yourself with such a fascinating project can bring you and other family members closer together. It will be fun, at times quite trying, and very intriguing. But isn’t that just life? So, ask yourselves, why would you pass something like this up?
Anyone can start their genealogy journey at any age and at any time. Don’t let that stop you!
We hope this article has given you the motivation you need to start or continue your family history research. Here are two extra top tips that can help can excel in your research below! Also, don’t forget, Family Wise Limited can offer help and advice with your research and can even produce a beautiful binder full of family history documents, just for you. A perfect gift for Christmas!