What Advice Would You Give To A New Genealogist?

This week’s question is about advice. What’s the best advice you’d give to a new genealogist?


  • Marcy Belles says:

    I believe most have already been covered –

    1. Interview older generations of family members. Have a Q&A – use a recorder. I did this when I was doing research in Kentucky. Family members would take me around to other homes, introduce me, and they would talk about my great grandfather and other family members. I also learned which cemetery family members were buried at.

    2. Document the sources of information – whether it was from an interview, personal knowledge, or records (birth, marriage, death, census, directories, etc). I’m having to go back and double-check my information and note where it came from. That’s hard to do years after the fact. I started my research in 1980 (paper method only) and converted to a software database without adding the documented proof.

    3. If at all possible, join your local genealogical society. They are a great reference source – either through monthly meetings, annual seminars, or special interest groups. I am currently a member of my local genealogical society as well as several family associations and lineage societies.

    • Marcy, great advice. I might ad that when you use a recorder you don’t do what I did and try new technology without being really familiar with it. Spend an afternoon thinking things were recording and they weren’t. Happy hunting.

  • Linda Ellis Farrington says:

    Do not copy from other trees. They may or may not have researched the family.

  • Deb Trout says:

    Sources!!!! Record the sources for your facts. And be organized.

  • Lynette Nelson says:

    Happy Birthday girl!

  • Annette Weiss says:

    The best advice I can give is to interview members of older generations.

    Back in the 1980s I was laid off a job and went to visit my parents inFlorida. While I was there, my father’s sister held a “cousins club” reunion which I attended. I thought I was going to recognize almost everyone, but I knew les than half the people there!

    The next day I went to her house and asked her who all these “strangers” were. She took out a blank piece of paper and drew a very detailed family tree, and from that moment on, I was hooked on genealogy, especially when I found out that my grandfather was the youngest of 4 brothers from Poland, and his oldest brother had settled in England, while the others (including my grandfather) went to the US.

    And now, thanks to DNA, I have found cousins allover the world!

    • Annette, It’s amazing how spread out the family can get in such a short time and how close you can be also. I just found a 3c2x removed and we connect back to Oxfordshire, England and I found him living in the same city I’m in in Canada. Happy hunting