Genealogy and Family History: A Game for All Seasons

A round "Tuit" to help you get around to your genealogy and family history!

A round “Tuit” to help you get around to your genealogy and family history!

Some of you may have started participating in genealogy and family history this past autumn when the leaves were turning and the weather called us to an inside game. For others, New Year’s Day tradition brings the air of resolutions and the commitment to new goals.

A recent survey of articles reveals that many of us have the same aspirations: eat well, exercise, get more sleep, lose weight, and/or get in or out of relationships. There are also goals related to finance, organization, and making life better, happier, and more satisfying. One of your goals may be to learn more about your genealogy and family history.

There are a number of reasons that individuals pursue their genealogy and family history, and if this is one of your goals this year I would like to recommend resources to help you get started.

First let me state that it is traditionally taught that you start with yourself, but any ancestor of interest is just as appropriate. Please be aware that if you have not proven the relationships between generations you may be learning about family history that belongs to someone else. As interesting as this may be, it will not help you reach your goal to know your family history.

If you are interested in recording your or a family member’s personal history, Real Simple has published a 10-page worksheet with questions that cover a life span of experience to help get you started. Set a time to complete this document or arrange a time to interview that family member of interest. You could even do both :-) Choose your questions wisely. Some individuals may be uncomfortable with specific topics so be sensitive and appropriate.

The second resource I would like to recommend comes in two online wikis. For those who are unfamiliar with the term “wiki” it is a web application that allows individuals to collaborate and add, modify, or delete content as necessary. The idea is to keep the most relevant and up-to-date information available to its audience. Ancestry.com has a wiki that provides the information found in two classic reference books for the United States, Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources and The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. The information from these two books, in addition to other information available in Ancestry’s Learning Center, can help you get started. FamilySearch.org has a wiki that provides information from their classic Research Outlines that covers research resources internationally as well as more up-to-date information. FamilySearch also has online tutorials for the necessary education to reach your goal of knowing more about your family history.

And finally, don’t forget the search engines that provide access to all the information available online. Check out David Barney’s well-attended presentation at RootsTech 2013 for helpful hints on using Google’s tools for genealogy.

Genealogy and family history can be fascinating. There is a definite learning curve so take is slow. Focus on one pivotal person and build from there. With these resources you will have everything necessary to reach your goal. Remember the KISS principle. Wishing you all the best in this new year!

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

‘Tis the Season for a Holiday Bowl

Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf-Holiday Bowl 1984 WP Maybe I’m living in the past, but then again, I’m a genealogist. It’s the holiday season and the word “holiday” and “football” reminded me of the Holiday Bowl. As you may remember, in 1984 a college team won that game clinching the National Championship with an undefeated season of 13-0. I wasn’t there but the thrill of the final moments could be felt through the network!

There have been moments in the NFL this season where records have been exceeded, critics have been silenced, and lessons have been learned. Whether you are a rookie or a veteran genealogist I hope that you’re enjoying your time on the field. Maybe your success has exceeded your expectations. Maybe you’ve heard trash talk from your critics. Hopefully, you’ve learned more about your ancestors! I know I have :-)

Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf-Christmas foliage WPWith the holidays happening, what plans do you have to clinch your Family History Bowl this season? It’s a critical time. In the NFL, teams are competing for those coveted placements in the playoffs. Your time to plan for the NFL Super Bowl, Groundhog Day, and your Family History Bowl may be competing for your attention! February 2, 2014 is fast approaching!

Most of us spend the holidays with family and friends. Sometimes we may be at an away game. There are a number of considerations for a holiday game plan. Know your options and opportunities by reviewing the game plan you established at the beginning of this season. Know the available venues located near the area of your celebration and evaluate the time you may have to devote to this game. For example, besides the typical huddle around the hearth, are you aware that there are libraries, archives, and societies that are open during the holidays? Recruit some players :-) If you happen to be at an away game, when it comes to family history you are most fortunate. The databases of those online sites never close, although sometimes they’re down for maintenance.Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf-archives WP

Whatever your game plan, we at The Single Leaf wish you and yours the very best this holiday season! For those who will be huddled at home, I would like to recommend a resource published by the team at Real Simple that lists a number of questions to stoke the conversation. Merry Christmas!

[By the way, the survey results from my last post indicate that most of you participate in family history and genealogy on Sunday and Monday. I suspected as such, but there is another night of the week that the NFL has captured and that is Thursday. It’s just a another great night for researching your family tree :-)]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.