Yesterday I told you about how I got involved in genealogy. One of the things that I think is important if you want to get into family history is that you do a couple of things. At least I believe it helped me.
First of all I joined the Alberta Genealogical Society, in particularly; the Edmonton Branch. It was there that I met people who were interested (other fanatics) in the same thing I was. The society has a library with many volunteers that are ready to help you get started and show you website to go to and book that you should read. The society has a library where there are books on every aspect of genealogy. From beginner books, books on how to do genealogy in Alberta, Canada, U.S.A., England and any number of other countries. There are local history books and people’s completed genealogies. You can spend hours in the library and I literally have.
The other thing I did was take a beginner course in genealogy. Again it was a place to meet people who had the same interest as I did, but also to learn some of the basics that you need to learn early on so that you can research correctly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that you need to cite your sources so that you can find the information later and have looked at my early information and I haven’t got a clue where I found that info. Really; I was sure that I’d done that… where did it go. But I guess despite the fact that I learned it there were times that I just plain forgot to do it… Maybe it was the joy of discovery that got me carried away.
I recall the first time I really got the bug. You do know that this is an illness and that there is no cure? I was waiting for my beginner course to start and was sitting at home at my computer and surfing various genealogy sites. You know when you’ve gone here and there and you really don’t know how you got to a site? Well that was where I was. Finally I’d gotten to a site; I now know that it was the National Archives in the UK, but at the time I didn’t understand that. Anyway, I’d gotten to a screen that you could put your ancestors name in and do a search. So I put in my great-grandfather’s name; Jesse Oliver and pressed search. Up came the 1901 census. It wasn’t the actual document only a transcript but it showed my great-grandfather who was 17 and he was a plumber. I was hooked. I was so amazed by the fact that he was on the internet. That this information was from 100 years old .. and that he had been dead for over 50 years, long before the internet was thought of, and here he was.
Over the years there have been many discoveries but it’s your first that you remember.