We wish all our readers a safe, happy healthy and genealogically rewarding 2015!
Of course we know that Lady Luck can be fickle so we will need to plan and work a bit to get those genealogical rewards
So what can we do to make Lady Luck shine on us?
1. Self-education is always a good place to start. GSQ run regular educational presentations and as members you receive one free presentation a year as a membership bonus. As Jill Ball mentioned in the last GSQ blog post Congress the Australasian genealogical conference held every three years is on this year in March in Canberra. You still have time to register for that.
If you are not able to get to Canberra one of the eminent speakers Colleen Fitzpatrick will be giving a presentation in Brisbane on the 18th April. Definitely save that date as she is an excellent speaker.
2. Review, Collate, Organise, Research, Review
Choose one of your brick-wall or difficult ancestors and then find every scrap of paper, every document, photo, every note about that person/problem and start over by doing a timeline of what you have.
Then look at each document in detail? Have you recorded everything in those documents? Have you extracted every clue? Is there something missing, what other records would be likely at that time period? Do you have those records?
It is not uncommon with brick walls that when you collate and review in detail what you have already collected that the dynamite you need is already there just waiting to be used.
3. Once you have extracted all those clues make sure you take the time to enter all the details into your family history program also making sure you have “cited your source”. This is important and shouldn’t be scary. You do need to know the source of the information. This gets particularly important when we have conflicting information. This record says James was born in 1818, while this one says 1822 and this one says 1820. If one source was the flyleaf of the family Bible , one was an immigration record and one was a marriage certificate you have possible explanations for the differences in birthdate.
4. Sign up to the Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, The Genealogist, FamilySearch and your County/State Archive newsletter. You don’t have to be a subscriber to sign up to the newsletter and you will get regular notification of new records being released.
5. Make a Regular Genealogy Appointment
We are all so busy that often it can be hard to find time to do research. However if you make a Genealogy Date Night appointment it will be easier to find the time as it is scheduled each week/month.
6. Digitise those documents, photos and ephemera you have in those cardboard boxes. Set up a scanfest. There is a group on Facebook that has Scanfest Sundays. They schedule a one hour scanning session on a Sunday. Just think if you did one hour a week you would have spent 52 hours scanning those precious documents. Even if you only scheduled one hour a month you would have done 12 hours of scanning in a year.
7. Talk to your relatives while they are still alive! Dates and facts are dry information albeit important. It is the family story that breathes life into a name. They may also be able to identify some of those unknown photos we all seem to possess.
8. Visit an archive. Hopefully you all regularly research at archives so this year do research in an archive you have not previously visited. There are Council, State, national archives, but there are also school, sporting, professional archives that could hold a clue for your research.
9. Look in your personal archive to determine what community, local, national history you may have in your possession. Do you have a historical photo of a town, a building , a business? Do you have a diary written by an ancestor? There are so many treasures held in personal collections that deserve a wider audience. No I am not saying you have to give your treasure away, but sharing that information via an article in your family history society journal, writing a blog post or perhaps getting the historical photograph copied and giving the copy to a historical society or archive.
10. Think about the social history context of your ancestor’s times. What was happening in the area? It doesn’t have to be a major event like a war to affect your people. What industries were present? What laws were in place and how did those laws affect your ancestor? What records might be generated by these events?
11. Make a foray into using social media
See how people are using Facebook, Twitter Google+ to help them in their research. You can lurk in the background. GSQ is holding a seminar on this later in the year.
Most of all I wish you fun in you research in 2015 and I’d love to hear what else you would add to this list.