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Beginning Research - Your Opinion Needed

Beginning Research and finding some interesting thoughts have come to mind.

I am not the youngster just starting, with a computer and laptop and I phone. 
I learned the solid way of paper and pencil and letters and calls. Research trips to libraries, visits to family members homes.

Yes, we still do all of these things but today we have the added concepts of I Phones, I Pads, computers, not to even  mention the Internet. 

 So if you were to do a Beginners Class, "Do You think the basics need taught as always, in the past?"

  What were the basics you ask?

   Start with self work back on the family group sheet, 5 Generation Chart and 

   gathering all the information you can on the current people and moving back a generation at a time.

   Keep a log of the places you have contacted and places contacted and data received back.

   Keep a log of the books you have read and if there was information in them for sources. Page, Date, data, 

   Title of book and when published and by whom, author.


   Go through your family pictures and heirlooms to see what data is there to help you. This is an on going

   project during your genealogical/family historian career. 

   Check distant kin for bible records, family charts (Currier & Ives) etc, Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and 

   other military skirmishes. 

    Visit repositories and work close with a LDS member at your local LDS library. I learned forming a bond with a 

    member and remembering they are human too, gets more results than being grouchy because the records

    you expected there are not or may not even exist.

    Now that was how I learned, Mom taught me much of this in the 1950's. I was on my own by 1959.


    So today is 2012, Electronic gadgets abound, but do you take a beginner and set them down to a computer to

    first start? 

    I did not do this with a Beginners in 2001 and I do not think that is a good way for the students to learn, but that 

    is my thoughts. I think they need to know where to look and what to look for and all that before you then show them 

    where to look and what is entailed in garnering information.

   I fear they will get the idea that they can learn it all from being on the internet and we know less than 15% of

   what we seek in on line and most of it is in Court Houses, Libraries, Genealogical and Historical Societies

   and other peoples homes.

   I hope you take the time to respond to this Query because I am about to venture into a new Beginners Progarm

   I do not want to discourage anyone but nor do I want to give them the impression it can all be found via a

   computer and computer access.

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Comment by christine woodcock on February 22, 2012 at 1:18pm

Good Luck Susi!!

Comment by Susi (Susan C Jones) Pentico on February 22, 2012 at 11:06am

Thanks to all of you whom have responded. I also posted this to a group in our society and they all felt the same way. 1. To much information to fast confuses them. 2. They can work on computer after they learn what they should be working on or looking for.The list went on, so I a bit the bullet contacted the agency and gave them an outline of my planned adventure.  No negative feed back so we will be leaving computers alone except towards the end so that they can work on their time to master the computer and l will give urls and advise to share for their knowledge.  Thanks again, I sure was nervous about telling them that wasn't the way I wanted to do it. 

Comment by RJLTrudel-PLCGS on February 22, 2012 at 9:37am

Hi Susi

I am much in agreement with you on all terms-- I almost finish my courses from which I changed and improved my methodology- PC's have become a great index and that's all it is --you still have to know what you are looking for and its speeds up ways of prooving it. It changes so fast  we are left in the dust from month to month. Standards were put in place now  and hopefully we (older searchers) can have time to adapt both while needing time to learn the new way-This is my worry it become a business now -not a hobby- but the satisfaction a doing it in a professional manner is gratifying- If I can show beginners to start correctly will be a bonus!

Comment by christine woodcock on February 14, 2012 at 4:43pm

Susi, I agree with you. At our local genealogy society, when someone new to research comes in, we hand them a family group sheet and show them how to fill  them out. Then we give them a bunch more to work on other generations. I get so worried when I see the Ancestry commercials that say you don't have to know what you are looking for or the WDYTYA episodes that all start with a "quick look on" The only way to know you have the right family is to write it down. Those sheets will become a sort of genealogy bible to the new researchers until they can recite the names of the family off by heart. What I do like about WDYTYA is that they always take the celeb into the actual archives and records (court, church, whatever). This shows people too that not everything is digitized and online.

One other thing I would add into the Beginners Program is finding a family tree program (free or paid for) to keep track of the info on their computers. Not just to upload and hope others do the research for them. This will help them when they really find a relative and want to share via gedcom instead of by scanning pages. Most of the software programs allow the family group records to be converted to PDF for e-mailing as well. I would also take the time to show them how to make sure they cite their sources in this program. It is always best to start out with good study habits.

My goal for this year, actually, is to scan all of my paper documents and upload them into the photo albums or scrapbooks for the individuals. Of course this means that if I upload onto a website, those docs go as part of the tree. But at least then others will know they have real documentation of the information and it is not just a process of emlimination or guess work.

Good luck, Susi! Keep us posted on how it goes.

Comment by Kathleen Mangold on February 14, 2012 at 3:50pm

By all means, start with paper! I've been doing genealogical research since 1983 when my husband got me started. We went to the Pennsylvania State Library every Tuesday evening, papers and charts in hand, and were thrilled when we could each get a microfilm reader! The thrill of finding new information through one's own primary research just cannot be duplicated on the internet. I will admit I have found some new leads on the internet, and found some information in other peoples' public trees that was helpful. To my chagrin, however, many people have pulled my information into trees where it does not belong, and apparently never bothered to do their own research--or they would know the information does not belong there. And, apparently, there is no way to "un-do" this if someone has misused your information. So, if you want to be sure your information is accurate, do your own primary research. Libraries, genealogical societies, courthouses, cemeteries ... nothing can compare to getting out there and making your own discoveries. And it all starts with paper and pencil!

Comment by Anastacia Heyen on February 14, 2012 at 2:32pm

I agree, here is why.  When I started in 1993 (I always claim I have been doing it for thirty years, but thats because I started the jouney when I was ten, but really started digging in deep at age 20).  Anyway, even *back then* I wasnt online at all, so I was doing the pen and paper, going to the courthouses, funeral homes, libraries, writing letters, etc etc.  I learned all of it on my own, figuring it all out.  Its funny, once I got online (1999) its like I forgot how to do it the right way.  I cant tell you the last time I visited a library, or funeral home or courthouse, shame on me!




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