Posted by Amy Johnson Crow on April 21, 2016 in Research

3 Things to Periodically Do in Your Genealogy ResearchGenealogy is far from a routine pursuit. There is always something new to learn, whether it is a new resource or a new method to try out. For me, that’s part of what makes genealogy so enjoyable! But for as much fun as it is to learn about new things and add more people to the family tree, we need to make sure that we do some things on a regular basis. Just like regularly changing your furnace filter, these three items will keep your research humming along and not burning out.

1. Review Your Notes

Sometimes adding more to our research isn’t what we need to do. Sometimes it’s better to review. (It’s why I actually opted not to go to the Family History Library on a trip to Salt Lake City.) You know that brick wall that you’ve been trying to break down? You might already have the sledgehammer. Those notes and photocopies from prior research might not have “fit in” when you took them, but when you plug them into what you’ve learned since then, they can open up all sorts of possibilities.

Let’s say that you took notes of all of the marriages of a particular surname in a county. Not all of those marriages fit in with your research then, but you’ve done more research between then and now. Those old notes might reveal the married name of a daughter you didn’t know about back then or a remarriage of one of the family members.

2. See What’s New

Yes, I know I said that we need to build in some routines. Ironically, looking for new resources is part of a good research routine. On a regular basis, review what new collections have been added for the areas in which you’re researching. Using the Ancestry Card Catalog or the map at the bottom of the search page are two good ways to see what’s available.

Ancestry adds new record collections all the time, but don’t stop your review of new records there. Make a habit of exploring the websites and catalogs of state historical societies, state archives, state and local genealogy societies, and the libraries in the areas where your ancestors lived. There could be all sorts of good things added since the last time you checked them out.

3. Share What You’ve Found

When you’ve made a big discovery or just something that struck your fancy, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it! These new discoveries can serve as “cousin bait” and reel in others who are researching the same line. There are all sorts of ways you can do this. Adding the materials your public online tree will help others discover you. You can also blog about it, share it on Facebook (either on your page or in relevant groups), and send emails to your cousins. You could write something up and submit it to a genealogy society for publishing in their newsletter or journal.

Conclusion

Researching is fun. (If it wasn’t, we probably wouldn’t do it.) Reviewing what we have, exploring what new resources are available, and sharing what we’ve found aren’t what we think of as “research,” but doing these things regularly can help us move our discoveries along.

Amy Johnson Crow

Amy Johnson Crow is a Certified Genealogist and an active lecturer and author. Her roots run deep in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. She earned her Masters degree in Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Amy loves to help people discover the joys of learning about their ancestors and she thinks that there are few things better than a day in a cemetery. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Amy Johnson Crow.

9 Comments

  1. Cathy

    I totally believe that sharing is the best way to make connections. One of the best parts of Ancestry is the Recent Member Connect Activity simply because I can contact those who are researching my ancestors and copying my research to their trees.
    BUT the Recent Member Connect Activity has not been working lately. It is about 3 weeks behind.
    It was fun to post a photo, newspaper article, document, etc. and see how fast it was circulated around to others researching the same ancestors. I can’t do that anymore because it quit working.
    Is there a reason the Recent Member Connect Activity quit working?

  2. Jeannette

    I really like Ancestry. Having said that, have also noticed that since using it year 2009, every time Ancestry makes changes or upgrades, I have to reload pictures etc. To individuals! So, it seems plausible to me that you are having this issue. This past week , I get the message that the Clues are not worrking and other disconcerting messages. Grrr …

  3. Marilyn

    I am having the same issues as Cathy. Recent Member Connect Activity hasn’t worked for me since the new Ancestry was implemented. Mine shows only changes/adds done by me on my trees, but none of the previous connections that used to show when others added or changed information on people in my trees and the trees I was a guest of. I was able to click on that information that they had added which then took me directly to the add/change to see if it was relevant. I also could see other members who copied any of my adds/changes. I have checked all my settings to allow these to show, but nothing shows. Is there something I am not doing or is it something that Ancestry is still working on?

  4. Jennie

    Isn’t that some kind of software that would not let husband and spouse to be the same person. Sometimes it could be a typing error.
    When there are errors in their tree and u give proof to correct there mistakes, it only upsets the person.

  5. Debbi

    Possibly because they are moving to a new platform (per the email I got a few days ago) some of the items are not working. I also found hints not working (off and on) and also adding a note does not go to the right tree and I have to choose which one, even though I’m in the correct one when adding. Several little glitches I’ve noticed and I hope they are fixed after moving to the new platform.

  6. Madeleine

    What new platform and what email about it? I have all my settings for communications from Ancestry turned on but this is the first I’ve heard of a new platform. Ancestry scores badly for communication to me and always has.
    Jennie says it upset people when you prove to them that they are incorrect, personally i would be pleased. As far as sharing is concerned, my Member Connect Activity has always been ‘late’ I now have notifications dated 31 March, they are three weeks late but better late than never.
    I might be preaching to the converted but I never copy people or facts from anybody else’s tree until I have found matching records. When I’ve looked at Hints in the form of trees I have found myself going round and round from one tree to another without finding one single record as proof of existence, that’s not research it’s laziness.

  7. Sue

    You are absolutely right about sharing. The moment we put our family tree on Ancestry we were bombarded with thousands of ‘hints’ – possible matches with our tree. The results were spectacular and gave us the family trees of several of our great-grandfather’s siblings (all born between 1830 and 1846 in the Channel Islands).
    Then to cap it off, we found the whole tree on My Heritage of a branch of the family we knew little about, who actually lived within a few miles of us – in Australia. It was a great thrill to meet several members of that family and to exchange trees and information. Best of all was receiving digital copies of their collection of photos of long-dead ancestors and hearing stories about some of them.
    In return we were delighted to share our family stories, including one historic event that made the pages of a British newspaper in 1865.
    So sharing your tree is a great idea. Don’t worry about protecting identities of living members – there are limitations on publishing vital data about people, as part of the protocols adopted by the big companies.
    Good luck with your sharing!

  8. Gilson Purger

    Dear sir and Ms.
    I am Brazilian and looking for information about my hungarian Grandparents. My Grandfather called Istvan Ellauer, born on December 25th, 1903 in Kaposvar , Somogy. His Parents was Janos Ellauer born in year 1870, and Katalin Fülop(Ellauer) born year 1875. My Grandmother called Elvira Laszlo(Ellauer) born on February 17th,1925 in Kaposvar. She was adopted by the couple Füzi. Her legitime mother Erszebet Laszlo, marriage with Kalman Füzi. PLEASE!!! I would like to know if the coulpe Istvan Ellauer and her wife Elvira Laszlo(Ellauer) lived in Hungary after 1929 or became to abroad. Where can i get these information about them.I will be very glad if you help me .
    I wish you best regards.
    Sibele Adriana

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