Did you know that October is Family History Month?
It’s a great time to begin or continue research on your family tree, connect with family members, learn about your heritage, and record stories to share. Don’t let the COVID-19 pandemic stop you from continuing your research goals! Read on for tips on exploring your family history that you can do from home.
Tip #1: Home and Family Sources
New to family history? The very first step in climbing your family tree is to collect records and info you already have at home or from family members. In family history we always work from the “known to the unknown,” so don’t skip this very important step in the research process! You might be surprised by what you can find once you start looking!
Seasoned researcher? Revisiting info and records you’ve already collected can spotlight gaps in your research or highlight an ancestor or story that needs a little more digging. Look for clues in your record collection that you might have missed before.
Organize and digitize your family documents and identify the people and places in your photos, then share the results with family or online.
Now is the perfect time to pick up the phone, text, or email family members and ask questions! If contacting family members is not an option, start recording your own memories. We all have a story to tell – including you!
Tip #2: Education
Sign up for a free account at FamilySearch.org to explore a large collection of family history education tools. The Learning Center offers video and audio lessons to assist in your research. The Research Wiki contains over 93,000 articles on a wide variety of topics, including research how-to’s and where to find specific record groups.
In addition to FamilySearch, take advantage of webinars and online videos via the BYU Family History Library and the video archive at Rootstech.org. Legacy Family Tree Webinars offers free access to new videos for one week after the presentation; access the entire collection of 1300+ webinars for a yearly fee. And of course, YouTube is a great place to find free family history videos. Check out the Genealogy Gems and Ancestry channels to get started!
Tip #3: Connect and Share
Look for ways you can record and share the information you have gathered. Social media posts, emails, text messages, and blogs are great ways to share info.
At FamilySearch.org, post pictures, stories, and documents about your ancestors for free. In the FamilySearch Family Tree, look for user submitted info. If a contributor provided an email address, you may be able to connect and collaborate.
Ancestry.com is another great place to interact with other researchers. Look for public family trees and connect via the Ancestry message system. No Ancestry account? Check with your local library. Many libraries currently offer at home access due to the pandemic.
Look for Facebook groups about family history related topics to connect with people from around the world and share ideas. For example, “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” and “DNA Detectives” are fantastic Facebook groups focused on DNA and genetics in genealogy.
Need more ideas? Visit Cyndislist.com, a free website cataloging over 337k genealogy related websites organized in 223 categories.
Most of us are home more than usual during the pandemic, but there are still plenty of ways to focus on family history this October!