Maryland Genealogical Society
Maryland Genealogical Society
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Meaningful genealogy requires thought. Develop a plan - "Why am I doing genealogy?" Set goals of what you plan to accomplish in a reasonable time frame, i.e., go back 4 generations, go back to the immigrant ancestor, do only my father's male line, etc. Periodically update your plan and set new goals as you've achieved previous ones.
Start with what you know and work from there.
Genealogy magazines are a great learning resource for both new and experienced genealogists. They have all types of general articles on "best practices," the latest Web sites, software, how to research specific topics, ethnic backgrounds, geographical areas, etc.
Collect all relevant records in one place. Develop an organized filing system (both paper and electronic) so you can find things. Then make sure you file information in its proper place, so you can find it when you want it.
When taking notes, use standard size paper, one surname per page, record the date and place of your research and the sources consulted.
Genealogy is the search for our ancestors. Family history is the study of the lives they led. Using the information from each area provides us with a true picture of our family.
Research your genealogy to learn about your family and your place in that family, to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren, and to research and trace your family's medical history.
Remember that each generation doubles the number of ancestors. It's easy to get lost if you don't plan ahead for your trip. Focus on one or two families. The others will still be there when you get to them.
Female lines are as important as male lines. One-half of your ancestors are female!
A generation is 22-25 years for a man and 18-23 years for a woman.
Remember to document everything you find on your ancestors. Undocumented genealogy is mythology!
Know your relationships: An ancestor is a person from whom you are descended. A descendant is a person who is an offspring, however remote, of an ancestor. A relative is a person connected by blood or marriage to another person.
To find a birth date from a death date, subtract the age in years, months and days from the date of death. This is a very close approximation.