The REAL Truth about Genealogy

Thought you knew what genealogy means? Well forget the dictionary definition, let me reveal the real truth behind what the word GENEALOGY means.

G – is for ‘gee that’s a great story’, which is the exact five words that get you started on your crazy trip into genealogy, and before long your are totally hooked, and can’t stop even if you tried.

E – is for taking every opportunity.  Once you’ve got the bug, you will (and I do mean WILL) take every opportunity to look online, or detour when visiting a cousin or friend, just so you can checkout the cemetery of your great grandaunt to get a pic of her grave. But don’t forget the classic whipping out the pad (actually it’s more likely to be a mobile device these days) with questions at your next family gathering, you know the usual “How many kids do they have now?, Do you happen to know their names and birthdates? Didn’t he remarry again?, and Do you know if anyone in the family has photos of grandpa in the war?”.

N – is for new resources. Sure you’ve looked at every possible website there is looking for records relating to your 3x great grandpa, but that was 6 months ago. And in the genealogy world that is a long time. A lot happens in 6 months, with millions of new records being added online monthly, it is always worth rechecking.

E – is for email. It pays to remember that while there is undoubtedly an enormous amount of records online, there is still a massive amount that isn’t. So it pays to send an email to the Genealogy Group or Historical Society in the area when your research is, and ask if they have any extra records that might relate to your family.

A – is for ask. Now this is an important one. If you are stuck, and are totally frustrated by your brickwall, and can’t find how your 2x great grandparents arrived in this country, but at this stage the options are that they swam or were dropped here by aliens, ASK for advice. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Ask at you local genealogy group, or genealogy events that are on in your area. Check out Newgroups, and Mailing Lists, even genealogy Facebook pages are a fabulous place to ask. You’ll usually end up with some great advice, and tips.

L – is for learning. If after doing genealogy for a couple of years you reckon know it all … ha, think again buddy. In this hobby obsession, the learning never, and I mean NEVER ends. As mentioned before there is always new records, there is new ways to access records, and new reference works to peruse, and don’t get me stared on …

O – is for OMG I’ve found them. You know that family that emigrated from Ireland to England in 1850s that you’d been searching for, for ages … well now you’ve found them, and you want to shout it to the world!!! This is a common feeling when you break down a brickwall. This is what genealogy is about, and this is what keeps you going.

G – is for generosity and gratitude. This is really plain courtesy, but sadly does need to be mentioned as some people do tend to forget the basics. When you get in touch with a relative or fellow researcher and they are able to give you some information or photos, be appreciative and thank them. Also if you get a request not to put a name or photo online – it is in your best interest to honour those wishes. If you don’t, you’ll get a bad name in your family, which means you’ll get less out of those who can give it to you.

Y – is for your family. While you’re busy searching for your past family, your current family will need to learn to adjust to your new lifestyle, which for them may well include getting their own meals, getting themselves ready each day and leaving your paperwork and photographs on the dining room table exactly where it is, and above all – THE COMPUTER IS MINE, and is not for games.

So there you go, that is the REAL  truth about genealogy … pretty simple really. Of course there is a bit more to it that just those written above, but follow that advice, and you’re doing well.

Now can I squeeze in just a little research time before I head off to work? 😉

One Response to “The REAL Truth about Genealogy”

  1. Pauleen says:

    I like this new interpretation Alona..sounds oh so familiar!

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