Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Genealogical Education

One of my favorite genealogical educators is Crista Cowan, known as The Barefoot Genealogist. As she rightly notes, we were all beginners once in genealogy research, so there is no need to feel bad about mistakes. I appreciate it when another researcher shares their mistakes with us, as they help save us from making them! I want to share three of her videos that have been very helpful to me. While I am not a beginner genealogist, these videos indeed were good reviews. I wish I had been able to watch these kinds of videos back when I first started!
Like the title implies, Back to the Basics: Genealogy 101 is a very basic but substantial introduction to the field. If you are, indeed, new to genealogical research, this is the place to start. Another video you will be sure to watch is Common Mistakes in Genealogy, as you will save yourself so much time and heartache if you avoid these mistakes. Some of the biggest mistakes? Assuming your family name is spelled only one way, failing to document sources, and relying on the family trees submitted by others. There will undoubtedly be a future post about the spelling variations of surnames, as that is a fascinating topic! In regards to undocumented family trees, it can be a real shame. I have read horror stories where some poor researcher spent years on the wrong family all because they accepted, uncritically, names submitted by someone else that turned out to be wrong!

The third video by Crista I enjoyed was Approach Your Family History Research Like A Pro. In this video, she stresses the importance of formulating a research plan and outline the necessary steps. She has new videos as well, some on more advanced research techniques, and some on how to search more effectively. Fortunately, most videos are around 30 minutes long, so you can listen more than once, which is something I suggest unless you can take notes.

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