Friday, February 26, 2016

The 21 Day Genealogy Challenge - Day Two: It begins with YOU!

And his sisters and his cousins, whom he numbers by the dozens, and his aunts.  
 – Gilbert and Sullivan

Welcome to day two of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  Today is the day we actually begin our family tree.  Before we start, I would like to acknowledge that some of you may have begun the process I am about to explain in this blog post.  Perhaps you are recommitting to doing your family history and the following ideas you have already completed.  As you follow along, reevaluate your tree and see if there is any new information you might be able to add to your contemporary relatives.

Let’s begin with you.

You are part of your family history, so let’s begin with you.  Place in your tree all the information you think would be pertinent.  This is a pattern you are going to follow with each of your ancestors.  Enter your birth date and location.  If you married, enter that information as well.  Some programs, like, allow for additional information such as height, hair and eye color.  While we might not think anyone cares about these details, consider this: wouldn’t it be interesting to know what your 2nd great grandmother looked like beyond the black and white photo?  While we are still entering our personal information, remember to include hobbies and interests.  If the genealogy program you are using allows for you to add photos, include a couple of pictures from different ages of your life.

What more do you know?

Now, let’s move on to your parents and do the same thing.  What information do you have at your fingertips?  Do you already have a copy of any birth and/or death certificates?  How about marriage records?  Remember, online ancestry accounts will keep the information of living relatives private, but if you are still concerned, you may leave out these details.  Make certain, however, you keep a file of this information for future reference.

As you enter information for your parents and grandparents, do not forget to add their entire family.  By this I mean, add all children.  If you have brothers and sisters, add them to your tree.  If your parents had siblings, add them as well.  Do the same for your grandparents.  For each person, add as much detail as you possibly can, just as you did for yourself.  We want to be thorough in our information on the living to save our descendants the trouble of having to research us the way we are having to research our ancestors.

Your Genealogy Journal

Once you have entered all the information you have at your fingertips, you have completed Day Two of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge.  How do you feel?  It’s okay if you weren’t able to supply each current family member with all the information you would have liked to enter.  This is where the Genealogy Journal comes in handy.

Open your Genealogy Journal and begin making a list of what you were able to accomplish today and what information you still need to obtain.  I like to give each person their own page.  Write their name at the top of the page, then begin to list their vital information – birth, marriage, and if applicable, death.  With each event make certain you are including location of the event.  Skip a few spaces and add any marriage information and list of children.

Leave the facing journal page empty.  Here is where you are going to place a question or two of what you would like to further discover.  This practice will come in handy when we begin covering our deceased relatives.  

Example of my Journal page for ancestral relative Earl Clausen.

 Here is your 5 Point Review

  • Start your family tree online or on a software program.
  • Enter your personal information as the starting point for your family tree. Remember to include your hobbies and interests. 
  • Add photos of yourself through different stages of your life, ie. childhood, teen years, adulthood, etc.
  • Add your parents and grandparents to the tree using what information you already have.
  • Begin your Genealogy Journal.  Create an information page for each person  you are researching, keeping in mind that the facing page can be left free to keep notes and jot down questions that may arise.

Congratulations on completing the second day of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in the Blog Comment section below.  Invite your friends to join this challenge by sharing this blog with them on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.  The share icons are just below this blog entry.

Thank you for joining this challenge and remember…..

History not shared is History forgotten!