Are you new to this and do not know how to start with your family history? Have you worked on this for a while and need tips to get on? This list will be appropriate for you.
- Ask the elders before it’s too late
The information they provide can save you a lot of work. Everything is not written down, they have a lot of information that can be lost.
- Do not believe all family stories
The term “a feather can turn into five hens” has not come without a reason. Some family history gets hushed up, other history gets distorted to suit the descendants.
- Enter name, place and year on family pictures
The oldest pictures are of course the most important, but newer photos will also need to get vital information written down. Your descendants may appreciate this work.
- Provide references of your sources
This may not always feel so important at the moment, but sometimes you will have to seek out previous sources. Then it’s good to know where the information came from. Everything you can document about where the family information comes from is increasing the credibility of your work.
- Take the age indicated in older censuses with a pinch of salt
People were previously not as accurate of their own age as we are today. Entering round numbers was an easy way out if someone did not know whether their age was 39 or 41 years old.
- Evaluate the time from the event taking place until the event was recorded
If you are going to try to recount something that happened yesterday, versus something that happened 20 years ago, you will notice that you quickly believe the story of yesterday most. The longer time that passes from an event taking place until it is recorded, the greater is the chance of inaccuracy of the source.
- Learn strategies of searching
The priest or the person who provided information about your relative in the source you found did not necessarily write the name down correctly. Therefore you may not get hits if you search for the name in that way only.
- Make a new search
Even if you think you’ve found everything in a database, for example in the Digital Archives or the National Library, new information is constantly being added to these databases. A new search that previously was useless can therefore lead to good hits one or two years later.
- Be interested in the cultural history
We genealogists naturally think that farm and family history is more fun than the cultural history of a place. A peek at the cultural history can give you valuable insight into what attracted your relatives in their time. This will in turn give you a broader insight into their lives.
- Take a record of the names of the godparents
Often you can find cousins and others from the extended family from information around the godparents. This can be a good hint to help you make the family tree more interesting.