11 November 2007

Honing Your Genealogy Skills

I just read an article tonight that I couldn't help sharing, Three Genealogical Exercises by George G Morgan. Take the time to read this. This is a great idea. In some ways I do this myself.

For about a year now I have asked to research families of friends or volunteered my skills to associates I know would like to find their ancestors. It was my way of keeping my skills sharp. In many areas of mine and my husbands families I have reached brick walls. But I didn't want to just set back and not do anything while waiting to make a break through. Since I have set aside my family I have learned of new websites, databases, and places to search. I have even learned of new techniques to help in my search. I have applied those little techniques from time to time on my family just to see if I can make a break through. In a couple cases I would get one more little piece of information to add to the mystery.

George write about his three areas of training and keeping his skills sharp. The first is reading obits. He then dissects the obits to find every piece of information about that persons life he can glean from the obit by underlining the information. Then he writes a list of events and where he might find records pertaining to the events in that life, and proceeds to do some research. The second area is to continually check the message boards. This is a great one to use. Not only will you have the satisfaction of helping others, but you may stumble across a distant cousin. It has happened to me. The last thing he does is visiting cemeteries. He then writes down the name and dates off of a random tombstone and then uses electronic databases online to find as much as he can about that person's life.

I would add one more thing to that list, one I have been bad about, Blogging. Write about your experiances, things you read, techniques you discover, and most importantly about your genealogy. Countless times distant cousins have contacted me because of an article they have read on my blog about a common ancestor. Also sharing and teaching through your blog keeps your skills share by making you think about them in order to teach others. Those who learn best often teach much.

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