While I was creating a new account with a genealogy group the other day, I was asked the simple question regarding if I am a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or professional genealogist. Sounds like a simple question… but is it?
I have been “doing” genealogy since 1987 when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I have obviously been doing this for quite some time, but have my skills really progressed beyond what other advanced genealogists would consider a beginner status?
Yes, I have compiled and discovered some amazing finds, but what about all of the nitty-gritty details… like official sources and proof? While I have also compiled an extensive collection of those official sources, I also have quite a few holes in this respect. Correcting this is my main focus at this time.
I was taught by enthusiast beginner genealogists who were honestly more concerned with filling in the blanks and “how far can I go back”. While this is extremely exciting and it seems that you have accomplished a lot, is it truly accurate? Maybe… Maybe not…
Even though I have a pretty impressive collection of family data collected on Ancestry.com, I have basically started over with writing everything the “old-fashioned-way”… on paper… and in pencil. That was the main lesson I am taking with me as I restart my files. I have recently downloaded a genealogy program which I am using to start over from the beginning. I am doing double the work, I know… but I feel that it will definitely be worth the effort.
I am using my extensive Ancestry.com information and binders full of papers as if I am discovering them for the first time and I need to scrutinize, prove, disprove, and recompile for “myself” before I “believe” and include them.
* I now have a post full of free printable genealogy forms and charts. Check it out here!
Original background image for this particular post’s title was courtesy of Nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Thanks; you’ve made me think about where I’m at with my family history research. Great post.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment! I’m hoping that I won’t find TOO many major errors that have led me into the wrong directions…lol
My tree is private on Ancestry for that very reason – I know there are some errors in it, and since then I’ve started over and have proper proof stories for every single person in my tree now. It took forever. 🙂 My big “cringe” now is that I published a book for my grandmother, with 90 pages of charts and trees and stories in it, and I am now fairly certain that at least 1/3 of it is incorrect. I was just so excited, and so was she, and now I want to sneak into her house and take it back, but she’d never forgive me. I’ve decided just to publish a new book and see if I can convince her to let me have the old one back, hah. 🙂
Thanks for posting this! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who worries and wonders about such things.
I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one, too! 🙂 Before I posted this, I thought that many would either think that it was crazy for me to do all of this extra work and/or that some may ask me why I have a genealogy blog if mine is not just so… Thanks for your kind words!
What is the best genealogy site? I’m just gettibg started and want to know the best place to start. Thank you for your time.
I honestly like Ancestry.com the best, but you DO really have to watch out for just following what others “say” blindly. I think that if you can afford it, a good combination of some of the better equipped sites/resources would be the ideal. I also believe that old fashion copies of everything written out on the papers that we all used before the internet is one of the best (and cheapest) tools/resources you can have! You can even find the forms free to print online. In fact, I now have a post with a great list of free printable forms and charts here.
So guilty of listening to well meaning relatives and downloading gedcom files that had tons of incorrect/unproven information. Drug my feet switching from PAF, but now liking RootsMagic 6. Spending many hours now adding every proven source I can find! Thanks for your inspiration! Families ARE Forever!
I too am working on getting all my sources recorded properly.
It can take a long time, but it is worth it in the end for sure.
Like you and the other posters here, I feel I too need to “start over”. I am pretty confident the individuals I have in my tree, are the right ones, but their data may be off, so like you, I’m going to look at each piece of documentation like it is the first time I’ve seen in. I haven’t decided if I am going the paper route, or the computer (my handwriting is terrible). I’m using Legacy, so I decided to start a new family tree from scratch. Thanks for your post. I’m glad I’m not alone.
Thank you soooo much, I was already thinking about starting again and record EVERYTHING like you I was trained by an enthousiastic person to get family names to the temple asap… I forever am grateful to him but now to you, you pulled me to really start doing what I have been thinking about some time now…so no better day to start all over then today 🌷 🌷
Alie from the Netherlands
Just like Matthew, I also have a private tree on Ancestry. For the same reason of having errors and not wanting anyone to just copy what I have and spread the errors. I just recently up-graded my FTM program (YaY) and started over. Completely over, from scratch! Pics, sources, documents, everything!!! Yes, it will take “forever” to get everything down, but the end results will be worth it!!
I love doing family history. I am Retired, and help those in my ward. i started doing family history back in 1977. Being adopted, I was fortunate to have known whom my natural parents were.
However I loved and knew when I first laid eyes upon my new parents, that these were my parents, not the ones whom I had lived with. I was the oldest of 5 and was 7 years old.
I feel they are so close to me, all of my family, then found out my natural and foster were distantly related. I am a Family History Consultant for my ward, and I see many of the members striving to do theirs. I hope that the BUG! stays with us, never get discouraged, pray, then start researching, Never let yourself forget you are a valuable person to those you are finding. They need their families to connect them back to ancestors, and to Our Eternal Father.
I have Great X2 Grandparents I have hit the wall with and I honestly don’t know where or what I need to go or do. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciative.
Hi Teresa. Can you share their names, dates, etc for this pair of grandparents plus those of your great geandparent who came from them? Also maybe a quick list of all of their children? Also anything that stands out about this couple that could help me narrow it dpwn? I can look in a few places (resources) that I have access for and maybe find something. Where all have you researched? I will see what I can do. Maybe someone else will jump in, too.
Thank you for the free charts and forms. I classify myself as an enthusiastic beginner. 🙂 I have also started using pen & paper for my searches. I have a 2x grandfather whose wife passed giving birth to twins after having 5 children. He then married her youngest sister and had 4 children with her. What a mess that is when linking family members through other trees and census logs on Ancestry. A question: Do you use a computer program or can you recommend one?
Rhonda from Canada
I recommend Family Tree Maker 2017. The earlier versions do not sync with Ancestry dot com, so definitely look for 2017 (or later?). There are also other improvements that are worth getting the more current version. I mostly work on Ancestry, but also love the simplicity and thoroughness of Family Tree Maker. You can even set it up to automatically sync. Less work for me, too.
You just popped up on Pinterest. Glad I opened your blog and love your suggestions. I am a beginner (but just have not worked on it like I should). I love going the paper route myself. Found the obit of g-grandfather and it says a distant relative of President Lincoln. Wish me luck but so far am at a block. Thanks for the free files and info.