Moving Past Traditional Genealogical Research
If you started working on your own family history by reading about genealogical research or attending classes in a seminar or at a conference, someone probably mentioned the "Research Cycle." Here is a common iconic depiction of the Research Cycle.
The first step is commonly called the Survey Step or identifying what you know and what has already been done. From my own experience in working with newly minted genealogists over the years, I am certain that they are frequently plowing the field that has been plowed for generations before they started investigating their family. It is possible that the newcomer is the first in his or her family to take an interest in genealogy, but that may only be the case in the very first few generations.
Some cultures around the world have long-standing family history traditions. In Asian countries, family histories may have been kept for hundreds, even thousands of years. Large percentages of those currently living in the United States are descendants of European immigrants and there are a lot of records to search before you can truly claim any originality. As I have written before, my own survey took about fifteen years of research in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah before I could begin to find people who had not been recorded previously. Much of what I found turned out to be inaccurate, but rather than spend my time making the same mistakes, it was necessary to see what had already been recorded.
The huge online family tree program MyHeritage.com has a feature called
The process of doing a survey is much more accessible than it was at the time I did my original survey. But unfortunately, it is also fragmented on websites from around the world. The goal of the FamilySearch.org Family Tree is shared with some other large online family tree websites: to unify and gather together all of the information known about the ancestry of the entire world. After all is said and done in genealogy, we are one large family and we all share a common heritage. What is happening today online is making it possible to realize that goal.
Meanwhile, any beginning point for genealogical research must start with an online survey. The simplest way to do that is to begin putting your own family tree online. The FamilySearch.org Family Tree is free and open to all and will always remain free. MyHeritage.com has a free component. Here is a quote from the MyHeritage.com website:
MyHeritage family sites are based on subscriptions. Basic sites are free. If you are a member of a Basic site (a non-paying member), the limit of people that can be entered in the tree is 250 and the limit of storage space is 500 MB. This includes all family trees on the site, whether they were created online or in Family Tree Builder and published to the site afterward.I spent a substantial amount of time and money doing my original survey. With either of these programs and an expenditure of far less time and money, I could now find much more information than I did many years ago. But with this technological advantage come some substantial challenges. I must still sift through a lot of wrong, inaccurate, and incomplete information to find the kernels of accuracy.
Stay tuned for future installments.
You can read the previous posts in this series here:
Part Two: http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2018/04/click-your-way-genealogical-success_22.html
Part One: http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2018/04/click-your-way-genealogical-success.html