For people researching their family history, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to make new plans and set new goals for improving their ancestor’s research strategy. If you don’t know where to start from, here are some goals for you to work towards in 2019.
1. Make a Family History Research Plan
This year try to make a research plan before proceeding directly to creating your family tree. Proper planning is a key to productive research. It will be much easier for you to carry out tasks if you have a clear plan of action in mind.
Compile a list of questions you would like to answer and how you can find answers to them. If you break down your major goal into smaller objectives, you’re more likely to achieve more progress in your research.
2. Select Safe Storage
Take your photos out of the flimsy shoebox and put them in a safe place that won’t be affected by temperature fluctuations, moist, dust, and light.
If your research is more than just a hobby, you can purchase special storage containers made of acid-free plastic or paper. If you’ve ever seen damaged and faded photos in an old photo album, you’ve seen evidence of poor-quality storage.
3. Digitize Your Discoveries
Digitize your family documents and photos, photograph or scan them depending on the item. While a mobile phone will be helpful in taking quick images, a high-quality scan will provide you with more options for future editing.
4. Backup Your Files
Make multiple copies of the documents. Seasoned researchers stick to the Backup 3-2-1 rule described by Peter Krogh. The rule states that you should keep three copies on two storage media, and one of them should be located offsite.
You can keep your data in the cloud, an external hard drive, or another source. Ensure the safety of your files by keeping one copy away from your home where they won’t be damaged due to some misfortune. Cloud drive may become an excellent choice for offsite storage, and it usually doesn’t cost a lot, though there may be some fees if you have a lot of large-size files.
5. Fill in Your Treemily Profile
While creating a family tree on Treemily, many users quite often forget to enter additional information, something besides dates and names. Sometimes, we get dragged away and forget why it is important to know and record family history. It’s about the connection to your past, that is why it is crucial to preserve your ancestor’s history.
Get back to those empty profiles and write a short biography or add events to timelines to provide a better description of your ancestors. Don’t forget to insert photos if you have some, as it will definitely make your tree more festive and colorful.
6. Connect with Other Researchers & Brush Up on Your Skills
Even the most experienced genealogists can pick up some new tips from another pro. Take part in public discussions with others who share the same passion for genealogy research as you. Seek advice, ask questions and share tips – it can be a great way to improve your skills and learn something new. Attend genealogy conferences and workshops, join in or create a genealogy project. Thus you will be able to learn new research tips and meet new people.
Follow genealogy blogs and subscribe to Facebook groups and discover ideas on Pinterest and Instagram to find new ways to enjoy your family history. Look beyond facts and dates and find exciting ways to share the stories of your ancestors. Spend at least 15 minutes a day to learn a little more about the latest news and trends in genealogy research. Read useful articles, watch webinars or enroll in an online genealogy course.
Also, it is a good idea to plan some road trips in advance. Researching family history online is efficient today. However, not all information was turned digital yet, so you must be prepared to take a trip to archives. Plus it can be a great opportunity to visit places that are connected to your family history.
7. Take a Second Look
If you feel you did your utmost and have come up against a brick wall, take one more look at your discoveries. You could have missed something important. Give your research a second look, and you may uncover new clues that will help you proceed with your analysis.
Unless you are a professional historian, there is no “proper” guide on how to research your family history. So, take your time and try to enjoy the journey itself.
8. Let Others Know Your History and Engage Your Family Members
Make this year unforgettable for all your family. Take your family history out of file folders and share it with your relatives and friends. You can share it by ordering a custom framed family tree from Treemily. It doesn’t mean this is the end of your research – it’s just beautiful to be able to share the results of the work done and receive appreciation from the close ones.
Researchers wear many hats: genealogist, archivist, conservator, writer. If you inherited family documents, photos, or mementos, the best time to start preserving your discoveries for the next generation is now. If you are at the beginning of your research journey, you may find our tips on how to research family history roots helpful. In family history research, the key thing is not to stop there. The more you work, the more you get, it’s simple.