All of the previous nine suggestions for jumpstarting your family history depend entirely on one thing: actually starting to do something. So here is a list of activities that will help you get moving and get started. They are not in any particular order and you can certainly try more than one of them at a time if you have the energy and time to do so. From time to time, all of us who are interested in genealogy or family history need to start over and think through the things we need to remember to do. When I was working in my retail computer store, we used to ask each other almost daily, "What business are we in today?" The same might be said about the huge changes that are arriving almost daily that affect the way we do genealogy. Perhaps we too should ask ourselves what business we are in today?
- Gather all your family documents and certificates and organize them into files or at least put them in order and in a place where you can access them easily. You might want to leave your home for some reason like a fire or other emergency very quickly and it is a good idea to have these documents available in a very short period of time. Then take the time to digitized all of them and back up the files online and on external hard drives.
- Take some time and interview all of your older relatives. There are some of us that are so old that we are the older relatives, but it is still a good idea to talk to your relatives about their families. A bonus would be to obtain oral histories of any who would agree to talk to you.
- Start now to plan to attend a major genealogy conference. You will at least have an interesting time meeting and talking with other interested genealogists from around the country and even from around the world. You need to be prepared with good comfortable walking shoes and pace yourself during the conference.
- Read a book on genealogy. Attend a class or teach one to someone else. Any involvement in education will provide immesurable benefits towards become more competent.
- If you feel challenged by your lack of computer skills, find a mentor or a tutor or both and take some time to focus and actually learn how to operate with the new technology.
- Visit an archive, library or other entity with a large genealogical collection. It is most helpful if you also have a mentor or professional to help you the first time, but reading up on the institution might do the trick.
- Start writing a blog online. This is a good way to find family members and contacts across the world. If you need an example of how a family-oriented blog should be, you can use TheAncestorFiles.blogspot.com for an example, although you might end up with something completely different. See "How to Start a Blog on Blogger" to get going.
That ought to keep you busy for a while.
Here are the posts in this series.