Everyone needs to set aside time to work on their family tree. It can make a lasting contribution to knowing our ancestral lineage and definitely additional information more about those relatives who helped get us where we are today.
Nothing helps be more productive then having a few suggestions of how to wisely use your time in relationship to gathering family heritage.
The following are a few suggestions of things to TRY to Do. You can make variations on this list to fit your own family and interests.
1. First, take the time write a letter / email or telephone or actually visit a family relative. That great aunt or a cousin or your grandfather can be a wealth of untapped information. They might be able to suggest a name, a family hometown or event you were not aware of a relative in your family. Keep in mind some family stories have changed over the decades and there may not be a great deal of truth in all legends about a relative, but is worth checking each out.
2. If possible take a trip to the family hometown, allowing time to investigate the local museum, church, societies, courthouse, public library, cemetery and certainly where the family had a home. Have a list with you of all relatives and dates when they lived in that hometown. Especially check the local museum and public library, you might be surprised how much is on file in these local facilities.
3. Go to any local Family History Center Library close to where you live. These are wonderful places of resources for genealogy. Bring with you what information you have already gathered on relatives and ask those questions of the volunteers at the FHC library that have bothered you.
4. Contact fellow researchers for a certain surname to gather any and all photos. Share you collection of photos also. Someone just might have a long lost photograph that you would treasure.
5. Learn a new electronic software or device that will help you in working on the family history. For example, if you have yet set up a genealogical software in which to place and organize the information you have gathered to date … that does need to be done. Use a digital camera so you can take photo of headstones in cemeteries or family heirlooms when you visit relatives. Also having a scanner is very important to make digital the boxes of photos you or another relative is holding onto.
6. Get a family DNA test not only for your own knowledge of your ancestral background, but assist others who are trying to link families. Check with the local Family History Center or search online for the various companies that do DNA genealogical testing.
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