|Wheel Tips Of Genealogy
by Lowell G. Childress,
President, WCH&G Society
For today, and every day forward in your life, there are at least three things you can and should do to further the record of your family tree and to enjoy it as you go along.
First GET A COMPOSITION BOOK, a ledger, or a ream of paper, some good pens or pencils (many of them), and at least an hour free time...without interruption - and start writing!
Second WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR FAMILY, starting with you. You alone have the first image...the first conglomeration of family facts from childhood on...this means the "family stories," the family as it is now...information on mother and father, etc.
Third, and most important of all...GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. If in walking distance, walk a lot. If not take a few notes with you and study your working plan, that will make your visit there very successful and satisfying.
ALSO, JOIN YOUR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY & LOCAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
From here on your are on your own. Few can help you with your own personal Family Facts. Few will have the time to gather information for you, except the few of the older generation of your own near and dear who are around to actually help you....if they will!
So now...your Quest begins. You can make it fun, or you can make it a tiresome chore. It is strictly up to you. And when discouragement, frustration, and downright anxiety begins to seep into your bones, remember that at this very minute there is someone else going through the same process of data-digging who is just as discouraged, for when you reach an impasse in ancestor hunting, blocked from the facts and by uncooperative relatives, it is time to go more often to the library. Check books concerning the geography, history and memoirs of persons who lived in the area where your ancestors resided....the ancestors who are eluding you may be mentioned in one of these.
The "Give and Take" method is a very wonderful part of your search for relatives, especially in your own family line. You will naturally take pen in hand and write to every living person you know in the family. And you will with earnest and forthright appeal, ask for all information they have about the family, i.e. names, dates, and all interesting stories about family members. "Is it true that Uncle Simon dealt in livestock but owned a music store as a sideline? How exciting he must have been," may get an answer like "He was not exciting...he beat his second wife, who was a cousin on his father's side!"
Take into consideration that your notes, memoirs and family records are not only gathered with deep satisfaction to yourself, but will be a most precious gift to your heirs.
Pictures, newspaper clippings, family history handwritten by elderly family members...all have a place in your family records and will enable you to piece together the most wonderful crossword puzzle of your family. These should all be kept in a large sturdy scrapbook and kept with all other family materials. In case of fire, these are the only precious things you must save...all other goods can be replaced, but not your family history.