Tips from the Pros: Begin, from D.G. Fulford

journal.bmpWe could all spend an interesting and distracting week discussing everything that can keep a person from a family history project–ironically something they’ve always wanted to do.

Anything can stop a person. I’m not talking about excuses–I’m talking about things as real as today and today’s errands. Maybe the dog ate the genealogy chart. Or maybe there are rotten apples on your family tree.

There is no one around to ask, you say. My stories aren’t interesting to tell. It’s such a huge process–unfathomable, really. I don’t know where to begin.

That’s the magic word. Begin. Nothing feels better than finally beginning. The beauty part? You can get off your own back now. You’ve begun! The joy flows from there step-by-step, one memory at a time. And then you’ll become addicted, because you’ll never want to stop.

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3 thoughts on “Tips from the Pros: Begin, from D.G. Fulford

  1. I agree that there is always a place to start and that is with yourself. I have had a hard time getting information from my fathers last two sibilings that are still alive. I should get my eye teeth pulled it would have been allot easier and more rewarding. So I searched and searched,the internet,court house and other records to get bits and pieces. Well to my suprise I had enough information to go and talk to a researcher in Pragu.
    To my suprise I gave her enough information to get her started and as of today she has researched my fathers family back to 1705. I am glad that I was so persistant on my part to find information that no one would help with. If only the reward is for yourself it is worth it. Now start with yourself!
    MJ Waldschmidt
    Virginia

  2. This is such an important part of the equation. Peristence. Daily life events will constantly intrude upon your plans no matter where you are in the process. Small steps and specific time set aside are the two most important elements. Many folks are anxious not always knowing the next step or as stated above, questioning the value. Do not question the value of this endeavor. Also, set the time aside. You don’t have to know in advance what you will do. Just set the time aside and keep the appointment with yourself. I started videotaping the life histories of my family members via a sit down interview. No one wanted to do it, they all had other things to do but I was persistent. I always questioned if my efforts would be appreciated by anyone but myself. That was in 1986, fast forward to today. I have Life History Videos of one set of grandparents, my parents, each sibling and even one niece. I also have these of my wife’s family. I just received a letter from my mother-in-law telling me how priceless and how thankful she is that I stayed persistent. Three generations from now the work we are doing will have a value we can’t even guess at. I’ll share one of my favorite quotes. “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you don’t keep moving. So that’s it. Don’t get run over by your schedule, other obligations or most importantly doubts. KEEP MOVING.
    Chris H.

  3. Life does tend to get in the way. It was irritating, I needed to have work done on my car. After I found where my Grandparents are buried. Rather then being able to rush over there, now I am forced to be patient and wait for the car to be fixed.
    Coinciding with that, from the start, one family member has been only negative about this. They are all the rottenest apples!! (thats putting it nicely what was actually said) Why would anyone want to know about them, I was told. I was in tears, here I was excited about finding someone and you would think I uncovered jack the ripper as a relative. What of Jack the ripper is your relative, should you stop there? I did not know alot of the “history.” The old adage don’t talk about it. Leave it be was what I was told. Well, I am gentle with the person, actually I found a distant cousin and they have had fun conversing with them. I learned; Be gentle with people, we don’t know the whole story sometimes. Also waiting makes the eventual visit all the more meaningfull and worthwhile.

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