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Sunday, July 17, 2016

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Genealogy: More Reasons to Slow Down

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In "Genealogy: What is the rush?" several tips for conducting more thorough research and slowing down the pace were given. Review more results of moving too fast in your research.

Much more than you probably realize is available to you by way of genealogy resources. Workshops, guide books, online communities, classes and blogs can make your research experience a rewarding journey if you take the time to absorb as much as you can. 

Professional genealogists who share openly through presentations and writing about their research experiences often provide different insights about the same historical record. Taking the time to absorb this wisdom can help you avoid missing obvious information and resources that could make a difference in the degree of success you will eventually have.
Being hasty can cause you to appear insensitive to family members who are not ready to share information they have kept secret for years. Often a little patience and respect for privacy can build the trust that they need to open up. In your quest to understand the past, do not risk alienating the living. See The Vital Genealogy Research Step You May Have Missed from Family History Daily.

Do your research to make sure a website or service will be worth it to you. Beginners waste a lot of time and money when they hear success stories from others who found a "great site" that helped them fill in many gaps in their family tree. Everyone does not have the same success with the same resource. For example, just because your genealogy buddy was able to discover several ancestors on a certain subscription newspaper site does not mean you should blindly follow their recommendation to sign up too. Your ancestors may have come from a totally different area, and that newspaper site may not have any of the local newspapers that would mention your ancestor. You need to do your research first, to make sure the site offers newspapers in the area you need.

The biggest mistake that you could make in haste is not documenting the sources you used to identify facts about your ancestor. If anyone tries to follow your research, they will have no way of verifying anything. Citing sources also will make it easier to revisit a record to glean more about the same individual or to pick up the trail on a new person. Not leaving a trail back to the resources you accessed greatly diminishes the integrity of your work and provides no proof for information that you share.

Many researchers come to a point where they need professional assistance. That usually occurs after research has led you back far enough that fewer records are available. If you have been thorough in your research, you can draft a clear and concise research objective. With cited sources, the person who provides assistance can quickly identify records that you have not researched yet.

When seeking assistance, never ask the nightmare question: "I am trying to find my ancestor in 1623, and I do not know the names of the children. Can you help me find his father?" That question reveals a lot of gaps in the research on the ancestor's timeline. A great temptation of people who go too fast in research is that they rely heavily on undocumented trees. They become so sure they know the undocumented end-of-the-line ancestor, but they may have adopted the wrong person altogether. It's the "Everyone else shows the same person on their tree too so it must be right," syndrome.

Hopefully, you discovered the benefits of not being in a big rush to research the most important people, your family.

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