This post is for Elizabeth O’Neal’s Back to School BlogParty. The premise is a genealogy school and what our students need to learn. Be sure to check into the Blog Party site throughout the month to get some helpful hints.
This topic is timely because I lead a special interest group for beginning genealogists for Indian River Genealogical Society. We meet September through May so I’m preparing for our new season.
So… What do my group attendees need to know?
Always document sources – even casual sources. If you got information from cousin Edna, note that. Information from family interviews may not always be accurate, but we need to know where it came from. If a fact is from your own personal knowledge, note that, too. As research continues, sources get more verifiable and concrete. Sometimes it is important to know where misinformation comes from.
Even “official” documents may contain misinformation. The information on a death certificate, for example, is only as accurate as the knowledge of the person giving it. A young man may have lied about his age when enlisting in the military. A young woman may have fudged her age when applying for a marriage license. Census records are often filled with misspellings, and erroneous information.
Don’t rely on one single document as absolute proof. Verify! Verify! Verify!
Make Use of Free Resources
Subscription sites are great but there is a great deal of information available at no charge
and so many others
Free weekly webinars. Each webinar is available to view at no charge for one week following the live presentation. Buying a subscription gives unlimited access to all previous webinars and the syllabus for each one. (more than 300 webinars)
AncestryAcademy (membership required)
GeneaWebnarsCalendar – a listing of upcoming webinars
Read blogs by professional and amateur bloggers – especially those who are doing research similar to yours.
Geneabloggers.com – a wealth of blogs and blogging resources
But most of all, they tell me what they need to know so that they can make progress along their genealogy journey.