Want to improve your family’s genealogy searches? Start right where you are

The not-so secret to becoming a fantastic family genealogy researcher starts with you.

The more that I pour through records in search of even the tiniest of information related to a long-lost relative, I focus on how much easier it would be if I knew more about their lives. Sadly, for those of us with brown-colored relatives, the historical documents are likely long ago destroyed, never recorded, not ever respected and typically not in the same places as our European and related counterparts.

This is often my manta. Yet, I love the payoff of good research results about my family and that of our clients.

Here are my tips on how to look ahead to building the type of information that will help future family researchers. After all, one day we will become ancestors to the ages.

What would you like for your descendants to know about you? This is your opportunity to provide the facts and other interesting information about you to preserve records that otherwise may be hard for them to locate.

I recommend the following:

  • Record your birth date, location, time, day of the week and any other factoids from your historic arrival on this earth.
  • Record all of your legal names, including nicknames. For instance, my “government name” is Ann Lineve. My nickname is “Nieve.”
  • List your parents’ and grandparents’ information that includes the aforementioned information. Make sure that your records are accurate. That is, sometimes we ask our parents questions and they may or may not know all of their birth, etc. facts. That’s where your research skills come in. Compare the results you locate with what your parents or grandparents may have for you.
  • Follow the same advice that I’ve offered (see above) involving your children, spouses, partners, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, “play Mommas and Dads” and any other close relatives.
Record your information! You will be appreciated as an ancestor.
Photo by Ann Nekr on Pexels.com
  • If you or anyone immigrated from other country, and/or lived in other countries, please include that information along with dates and other relevant information.
  • Where have you resided? List those places, including college locations and other spots, no matter the length of your stay. It helps to place this in chronological order.
  • My daughter is a U.S. Army veteran. It is helpful to list any military records and other related public service with similar dates, times and other publishable information.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • What is your religious affiitation? Has it always been what you are now recording or did you change denominations? All of this information is helpful to the future family researchers.
  • Be sure to leave behind your careers and years of service. Why did you choose the careers that define your professional work?
  • There’s helpful information about your health. Please include all commentary is included in your documents for family researchers.
  • Include as much about your life as possible. I would add that I took courses in comedy and actually performed on the Second City stage — twice!
  • Remember to physically describe yourself now and in previous years. Place photographs of yourself in records that are findable.

Thanks to technlogy, all of the offerings that I recommended could be easily filed in this manner. I encourage you to sign up for the free or paid electronic sites to help organize your information. Even with enviornmental challenges, if there is a way to print your information, do so. Place it in a safe place. It is always a great discovery when your descendants find information in your handwriting or outside of technology.

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Author: Learning family histories

Our genealogy traces our family from western and central Africa and western Europe. Our ancestors entered the United States at the Virginia and Georgia Ports. First cousins Mark Owen and Ann Lineve Wead (it is protocol to use the maiden names of females in genealogy searches) are responsible for writing this blog. Although Ann has been involved in genealogy research while searching for certain ancestors since the age of 10, the cousins began deeper research of their families during the COVID-19 Pandemic Year of 2020. Devoting as much as 6 hours some evenings to the methodical training and research of genealogy, the cousins completed the year 2020 by earning genealogy certificates. Join us. Sign up for our blog and enjoy the journey.

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