Genealogy research is an absorbing hobby that you can do on your own or involve your family members. However, the main problem many researchers face at the starting line is what to begin the research with.
There is a ton of information available, including archival records and online resources, so it’s quite understandable that newbie (and sometimes, even seasoned ) researchers feel puzzled.
If you feel you’ve hit the brick wall, there are some simple yet effective genealogy hacks to help you kick-start the genealogy hunt.
1. Talk to Elderly Relatives and Family Friends
The best starting point for your genealogy research journey should be not an archive, but, surprisingly, your home. Talk to your grandparents and other family members first to figure out more about your ancestors.
Even if you’ve heard many of the stories before, don’t neglect to interview your relatives and to ask them specific questions, for example, about your ancestors’ ethnic background, occupation, military service, and so on. Such an approach can help you discover new details and, besides, save you a lot of time and effort.
2. Virtually Explore Graveyards
There are some online websites that provide gravestone collections. Though such an idea may seem crazy, it may become one of the best solutions. There are many resources offering photos and even online-tours to cemeteries. Imagine how much time you can save on traveling.
3. Use Social Media
Social media can be a precious resource for your research. You can approach your distant relatives via popular networks like Facebook and Twitter or the locals from the city your ancestor lived in.
Besides, you can join a group of other genealogy hobbyists to ask for advice or exchange some data.
4. Check Local Libraries
Even if you don’t have paid subscription to a paid online database, you can head to your local library. Some libraries provide free access to paid genealogical sites and archives where you can look for census documents, birth and death records, and more.
5. Use Google Alerts
You can sign up for free Google Alerts to keep in touch with anything new that Google indexes regarding genealogy. You can choose the frequency of notifications and subscribe to as many alerts as you want.
For example, if you create an alert for your ancestor’s name you will receive an email notification each time there’s an article mentioning the name or new information relating to that name.
6. Use Google Books
If you don’t use Google Books, you’re missing out on a gold mine of information. This option allows you to search through the extensive collection of scanned books. Many of them are old which means chances are you will find something for your research.
Try entering the last name and the country where our ancestors lived in the search bar, you can find the entire sections of books. You may even encounter whole books dedicated to genealogy.
7. Let Google Translate for You
As it often happens, many of the records may be written in foreign languages, especially if some of your ancestors migrated to another country. Such situations make further search extremely difficult. You can use Google Chrome to translate any pages that are written in a foreign language.
8. Create a Family Tree to Store Data
It’s not that easy to keep collected data. A family tree creator will help you store your notes, photos, and other important information online and access them quickly whenever you need them. Besides, a family tree is a great way to get your data organized. After just a few weeks since you’ve started your research, you will have tons of data to manage so make sure you have some tools to help you there.
Genealogy research may be a tall order. However, the payoff for your detective work is nothing less than time traveling through your family history. You will get to know your ancestors in a more intimate and meaningful way. These tips will help you greatly facilitate the searching process and turn it into an enjoyable journey.