There are lots of habits you can develop for success in your genealogy research. Here are five that I'm highlighting:
- Have a plan - There are so many branches in our family trees that it's easy to get overwhelmed or get off-track while doing genealogy research. Try focusing on one ancestor and making a list of the questions you have. Prioritize these questions and then work on finding the available resources that may lead you to the answers.
- Put an ancestor’s life in chronological order - By compiling a timeline of your ancestor's life, you'll be able to organize the details you already know. But more importantly, it will help you identify gaps and make it easier to see what additional research is needed. For example, an ancestor may be living with their parents in the 1900 census and then you may have the birth record of his/her first child in 1906. This will remind you that you still need to track down the marriage record, which could lead you to unknown details about parents or residence.
- Put aside difficult issues - At some point, you may need to take a break from your brick wall ancestor. When you eventually return to it, you may be surprised to see that you have a new perspective on the issue. Just be sure to keep good notes so you don't duplicate any work that you had previously done.
- Learn from others - Even if you've been researching your family history for decades, you can always learn something new from others. There are a lot of great genealogy blogs out there that can give you ideas that can be applied to your own research. I use Feedly to read almost 200 blogs, and I've definitely learned a lot from them.
- Keep track of new and updated databases - Websites are constantly adding new databases and updating others. Don’t just search websites once and never return. A great resource for keeping track of the changes to online resources is GenealogyInTime Magazine.
What other habits do you think are critical for building your family tree?