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Things to Keep in Mind
Conducting genealogy research is one of the most rewarding and inspiring endeavors. However, the process can be daunting and complicated at times. Here are some important things to keep in mind while conducting your research!
- Talk to your family! Family is the most important resource when conducting any type of research related to genealogy. Be sure to start your research by interviewing family members about what they know, such as names, dates, and events.
- Keep thorough notes. Be sure to use pedigree charts and/or family group records to keep track of names, dates, and relationships. Also be sure to use research calendars, research extracts, correspondence records, and/or source summary records to keep track of what you've done, where you've gone, and who you've talked to -- you don't want to have to repeat any portions of your work.
- Context is important. When, where, and why play a huge role in how events happen and, consequently, the records left behind from those events. Did a street name change from 1901 to 2001? During the time of the overthrow and leading up to statehood, did mixed Hawaiian families identify Hawaiian as a nationality or not? Knowing a general overview of major historical events that occurred for the time periods that you're researching will really aid in your understanding of how and where to look for resources while you're searching.
- Check for alternate names or spellings. Especially for names of family members. Check for both "Elizabeth" and "Lizzie." Remember, too, that surnames changed for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes surnames became middle names or vice versa. Also, spellings changed over time: Gudmundsen changed to Goodmanson changed to Goodman.
- Make copies & leave the master copy at home. You don't ever want to risk losing something. So make copies, take those with you when you visit different repositories, and leave the master copies at home.