Thursday, October 1, 2015

OCTOBER IS FAMILY HISTORY MONTH–What do you know about your ancestors?

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What a great month to begin or continue your own family history.

  • Who were they?
  • Where did they come from?
  • What did they do for a living?
  • How many children did each family have?
  • How many times did they move?
  • Did they come from another country?
  • What were the historical events that shaped their lives?
  • What were some of the happy moments?
  • What were the saddest moments?
  • Did any of them go to college?
  • Did any of them leave you photos or letters or other heirlooms?
Have you asked yourself these questions?
Do you know where to look to find the answers?
Do you know where to begin?

Learning about your family can be exciting, heart warming, sometimes frustrating or sad, many times revealing.
There are SO many resources out there for family researchers that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.

TIP: My suggestion to new genealogists (and a reminder to those more experienced researchers) is to interview your living family members NOW.  We really cannot wait on this because we know that age isn’t the determining factor as to whether we lose a family member now or in the coming years.  They are all important and they all have memories to share.

Here are some steps to take to begin your research
1.  Google “How to begin genealogy research.”  I did this and had 881,000 results!  WOW!  Some of those ought to give you a good start.

2.  Talk to other family members who are either currently or have in the past, done research on your family.  Find out what they already know, what they’ve already done.  TIP:  Don’t take their word for anything unless they have well documented sources for the information (and I’m not talking about other online trees).  Use their information as a lead for your own research.

3.  Read some of the incredibly well written blogs that you can find online.  Many of the bloggers (and there are over 3,000 of us) offer tips and research strategies on a regular basis.  Most bloggers will give you a list of other bloggers they follow.  One blog will lead to another.  PLEASE SEE THE TAB AT THE TOP OF MY PAGE FOR THE BLOGS I FOLLOW.

4.  Join a local genealogical society and start attending meetings.  Whether it’s a very small group or a large one, you will find other like minded people who love nothing better than to talk about family research.  You’ll hear lots of ideas.  Take the best ones or the ones that fit you best and work from those.
Here’s are two posts I wrote about societies and why they will assist you in your research - SEMINARS, WEBINARS, SOCIETIES - Will they help your research?

HISTORICAL & FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETIES - Great Resources for Your Research

5.  Read some books.  I learned an incredible amount from the books I bought and read when I began this journey over 12 years ago.  You can either buy paper copies, download books to your e-reader, check them out from your local library or borrow them from other genealogists.  NOTE:  Our local society the San Diego Genealogical Society, has monthly meetings.  At each of those meetings there are used books for sale.
Please see the tab at the top of my blog for Books I Own.  Maybe some of them would be helpful to you?

6.  Join Facebook Groups.  There are a LOT of Facebook groups devoted to genealogy.  Whether it’s research tips, organizing tips, technology tips, location specific groups or whatever you might be looking for, you can probably find it on Facebook.  Here is a list (Click here) with over 5,500 links to Facebook groups from all over the world.  Thanks to Katherine R. Willson who created and updates this list.  
Here’s a post I wrote about how useful Facebook can be FACEBOOK - How it can be very useful in your research

I hope some of these suggestions have given you an idea where to begin your research.  Or maybe given you some new ideas to think about and explore.

I know I haven’t even begun to cover everything.

I’d love to hear about your successes and any other ideas you may have.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Diane,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thanks so much Jana. I've already let my Facebook friends know so they can go to your blog and read the rest of the blogs you mentioned.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.