As a genealogist, there is a lot to do. Getting involved in genealogy mean researching, writing, recording, preserving, archiving, sharing, and sometimes more. It can be overwhelming. Making simple and achievable goals will help you to move forward in your work without getting overwhelmed.
These goals are designed to be attainable and to help your progress. Follow these steps as you become a master genealogist at your own pace.
1. Discover Heirlooms and Keepsakes
It can be easy to assume that your ancestors didn’t keep things if you have not seen them or don’t have them. But have you reached out to extended family members about it? Reach out to cousins, aunts, and uncles and ask about old photographs, family records, family books, or anything that may be a memorable keepsake. Often times a family keepsake is passed down to the oldest or youngest relation, sometimes these heirlooms may go unknown to others in the family. Even if you cannot gather all the keepsakes in the family, you can record them. This can also be a great way to bond with other family members as you discuss these keepsakes and your shared family history.
2. Create Better Storage
You may find old photos stacked in flimsy shoe boxes in a dusty storage room. There is likely a better way to store those priceless photos. Invest in acid-free archival storage boxes. These boxes will help to keep your family photos safe from temperature fluctuations, humidity, dust, and light. This kind of storage will keep your family photos around much longer.
3. Digitize Your Research
Digitizing your research and findings will ensure that it lives on. Scan photographs and documents, photograph keepsakes and family members. Create your own personal archive of your family and research. This will help you get organized and share your research for generations to come. After digitizing, don’t get rid of any originals. Digitizing is just another form of security.
4. Backup Your Files
After digitizing your records, be sure to back them up. You should have the original digital file and two back of copies of each document or item that you want to preserve. There are many ways of backing up files. You can use an external hard drive, the cloud, a DVD or CD, USB, or external drive. Guarantee the preservation of your files when you safely back them up. Digital storage is very low cost and very reliable.
5. Share Your Findings
Clue your family in on your findings. There are plenty of fun and easy ways to share your genealogical research. You could create a blog to share with friends and family members. Social media can also be a great tool—sharing on Instagram or creating a Facebook group for your family members where you can share your findings. There are many of these groups that you may benefit from joining also. You can see how others are sharing their research and learn from them.