The importance of Organizing and Sharing your Genealogical Research

Start enjoying your Genealogy Research. Get organized!

There are many reasons why being organized is essential. My greatest joy came from finding more records and answering more questions once I became better organized. The positive feeling I had gave me positive re-enforcement and gave me more enjoyment from my hard work.

Initially, I collected personal papers, photos, and stories and then added the names and dates to the genealogy forms, such as family trees and group sheets. This basic data allowed me to find census records and other documents from online collections and archives. I was excited because I was filling out my family tree. When I tried to share this information with family members, they were usually confused and reluctant to take the time to read the documents. They were not excited about my research like I was.

Their reluctance made me rethink my approach, and I realized that the stories were more important than the documents. I then reviewed different reports available from various genealogy software but found none that was easy to use and understand by non-genealogists. They did not tell the stories.

Using Microsoft Word, I started recording my information in summaries for each direct ancestor. I listed each piece of information and story in chronological order in the summary. I also included photos, maps, and documents next to the text to help illustrate the information. I added other materials to the document at the end of the narrative. Sometimes, I included notes to myself to do future research when I could find time or resources. I highlight these notes by using red type.

My research efforts had many starts and stops, and this format enabled me to restart my research faster when I had time to return to it. The format allowed me to focus on what to do next quickly, and I could easily find the data I needed to do the next search. The format helped me correlate and analyze my research more efficiently. My research became more accurate.

The stories began to emerge from the gathered information, and the summaries were readable and increased the interest of family members. They suddenly asked questions and freely offered what they knew. The format also reminded them of many stories found deep in their memories. The exchange of information was amazing, and the family history grew.

Genealogy is not just the collection of names. Our ancestors were living human beings who interacted with the people around them. The documents and information we find contain stories about our ancestors. Our challenge is to review the information and see the stories hidden in the facts and then share them with our family. It is critical to organize our data in a format that can be easily read by all the members of your family, both present and future. Go beyond the names and dates and find the stories buried in the documents. Get organized. Find a way to write the stories and save them for your future generations.

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