You've decided to trace your family history and you don't know the first thing about doing genealogy research. All of us have been there and some of us are still there. I thought I would share with you several websites that will help you learn about this noble undertaking and where to get help.
- FamilySearch Research Wiki is a large, on-line library where you can find thousands of articles and how-to instructions about doing family history. The Wiki is written by the community of users. The objective is to have previous researchers share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of those that follow in their footsteps. Wonderful insight and things I wish I knew before I began to climb my family tree. Scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on the "Getting Started
" link. It will walk you through identifying what you already know, what you want to learn and figuring out what records to search. You also learn to analysis what you have found and how to organization and document it.
- Cyndi's List contains a huge list of everything genealogy on the internet. Just type in the word "getting started" in her search engine and you will be off and running. Bookmark her site because as you develop your nose for sniffing out research materials, Cyndi's List is a must place to explore. Type in the name of a state or country and you will be amazed at the amount of links she has organized to help you explore what's on the web.
- Rootsweb Mailing Lists - There is something to be said about have another person to bounce off ideas or just learn the ropes from. Rootsweb has over 30,000 genealogical mailing lists that you can subscribe to. My favorite mailing list is GEN-NEWBIE, just type that in the search engine. This group is where people who are new to computers and genealogy can learn from each other in a friendly open environment by email. It's comforting to have a place to ask questions and not be made to feel silly for asking. I recommend that you sign up for the digest format that way you don’t get too much email.
4. Sometimes email and a website just are not enough. You need to sit down and talk to a live flesh and bones person. There is such a place that a person can visit and learn about genealogy. It's called a Family History Center and they are located all around the world. Family History Centers are off-shoots of FamilySearch, sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can find your local family history center by visiting www.familysearch.org
. Scroll down the page and you will see the search box "Find a Family History Center". The centers are staffed by volunteers that may or may not be members of the LDS Church. Don't worry you won't be preached to. What you will find are helpful people ready to teach you how to do your family history research. I learned how to use a computer for the first time there. We all have different learning and teaching styles. If you don't click with a volunteer just go back on another day or time and try someone else out as your mentor. Just don't be afraid to ask questions - that's what their there for.
I wish you well on your genealogy quest. It's an exciting road to follow, that will become a life long pursuit.
See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!