You don’t have to be perfect to start.
That’s right. You don’t need to have all the rules memorized. Yes, there are times when you must read perfect instructions and rules before any action is taken in order to follow the well-laid out proper steps in the quest of a solution to a problem.
In contrast, there are times where it might be better to just jump in blindly– with more than a little guts - with your heart clutched in your hands, and figure it out all on your own. That’s right. Sometimes you gotta think outside the box for the answer.
I know this sounds kind of odd coming from the author of a “How-To Genealogy Blog for Newbies,” but I’m just trying to be honest.
Don’t be afraid to just search. To put aside all the rule books. To relegate all those well-meaning internet articles and blog posts to the “Read Later” status. And just search. With all your heart and your mind.
For example, when you lost your car keys the first time, did you fall back on your Step-by-Step On How To Find Your Car Keys manual? No. You turned your house upside down and found $10 in change in your couch [Or sofa. Whatever you prefer.] Then found all those cool pens, some gum, and more change in the last purse you were using right before you frantically changed purses that morning. Then you tried to remember when you last had your keys and what you were doing at that moment. Then remembered you had gone to the grocery store and you had needed your car keys for that. Then remembered you had been carrying in the groceries. Then you remembered you’d bought Blue Bunny Bunny Tracks ice cream. [And could there be a worse name for an ice cream or any food product for that matter?] Then you remembered you hurried to carry that in first because it’s, like, a 100 degrees Farenheit outside and the last thing you wanted to do is leave Bunny Tracks all over your kitchen floor [Because no one else is gonna clean that up for you.]. Then you rushed to the freezer and quickly opened the door to find your car keys sitting on top of the Bunny Tracks ice cream. Problem solved.
And you didn’t need a manual for that, right? [Of course, if you had let the Bunny Tracks melt all over the floor, perhaps you could’ve found your keys faster. But, then, in that case, maybe you wouldn’t have had your keys in your hands because the phone rang as you walked in the door with the first load, and when you answered the phone you put your keys down there.]
However, that doesn’t mean that 5 years down the road while waiting in the germ-infested doctor’s office for your name to be called by that nurse [who looks like she’d like to be just about anywhere but here] that you didn’t sing all kinds of praises when you read that article entitled, 7 Top Ways To Find Things That You Continually Lose. Duh. Like, you’d have to be an idiot to not read that. Right? [Especially since you lose your car keys at least twice a day.]
And then you think, “If I had only known then what I know now about finding my car keys, I wouldn’t be constantly looking for my keys. In fact, if I had had this article to read and commit to memory, I SO wouldn’t have made so many mistakes along the way. So many mishaps. I could’ve done everything so perfectly. And, alas, been perfect.
I disagree with this. Sometimes. Especially when it comes to genealogy. When doing research, sometimes the method that you use in finding your answers to your solutions aren’t found in a how-to manual. Sometimes they’re found just because you figured it out on your own. [Yes. I’m likening lost car keys to lost ancestors.] When they are lost, you are determined to find them. You don’t give up. You rack your brain for where they might be. You trust yourself. You trust your abilities and your knowledge that you’ve acquired along life’s highway to find them. And you probably learn some new lessons along the way.
And I daresay they are, sometimes, the most memorable lessons. The ones you won’t forget. And, sometimes, they leave you a little more satisfied. A little more, oh, I dunno, richer, for figuring it all out on your own. [You know, more than $10 in change, some gum, and some cool pens richer?]
Sure. Reading the how-to’s, rules, and other people’s lessons will help you and are necessary in long-term success in your research journey.
But don’t let them make you think can’t begin to look just because you haven't memorized all the how-to's. You don’t have to be perfect to start.
While I'm still on my SCGS2011 Jamboree high, I thought I'd start mentioning the Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2011 Conference in Springfield, Illinois coming up in September, especially since I'm an Official Blogger for them. So. I've come up with some pros and cons, or stays and go's, if you will, to help you decide on whether you should stay at home like you do every year or whether you should go and have a fantastic time.
Oh. You're asking ME? Well. Duh. Go.
For more details about FGS 2011, please visit the conference's FGS 2011 Website as well as the FGS Conference Blog. And don't take your sweet time about it either. Registration prices go up after July 1st. So get your groove on. Go.
Yeah. So. I mentioned some free stuff that I got from Jamboree since I'm a Geneablogger and all. And I also mentioned I was gonna be giving away some if it right here on For Your Family Story. So now you're probably wondering what kinds of things I received and if you're gonna want it enough to do whatever crazy thing I can come up with in order to earn it. Right? [Isn't it scary how I can read your mind like that?]
Thus, here's a listing of everything I received, what vendor donated it to the Geneablogger Swag Bags, and whether or not I'm going to be selfish with it or not. [And? I hope you appreciate all these dang links I'm adding. Not really my idea of fun.]
Ancient Faces - Advertisement for their free genealogy and family history resource site. So go visit. Please.
Archives.com - A subscription that expires 1/2/2012 to their site. GIVEAWAY [and since it's time-sensitive, soon.]
Family Chart Masters - Advertisement. Again. Go visit their site.
Family Roots Travel - Invitation for professional genealogists to their referral program. Will look into their program. But in the meantime, go take a gander at their website. They mention something about spending the night in a castle. A CASTLE. How cool is that?
FamilySearch - A very cool USB Tangle Hub. Sorry, folks, but I'm keeping this one. ;)
Family Tree Magazine - A 20% coupon off entire order at shopfamilytree.com [Hello? Keeping this one too.]
Family Tree DNA - A discount order form on their DNA tests. [Sorry, but I desperately need to do this. Keeper.]
Geneabloggers - Bag, awesome shirt, and, well, made EVERYTHING happen for Geneabloggers at Jamboree. A big shoutout to Thomas MacEntee.
GenealogyBank - A 75% off per month, $180/yr on membership. Coupon expires 6/30/11. GIVEAWAY. [And quick-like too with the quick expiration.]
Genealogy Gems Podcast - An invite to interview her there at Jamboree, which I didn't do, in order to receive a free 3-month Genealogy Gems Premium Membership for review on my blog. Sorry, folks, but I was having WAY too much fun at Geneabloggers Island to read all the fine print on the coupons in my Geneabloggers Swag Bag, but go visit her site and check her podcasts out. They're phenomenal.
Genealogical Publishing Company - 2 At-A-Glance thingies. [Yes, that's a technical term.] The first one? "African American Genealogy Research" by Michael Hait. The second? "French-Canadian Genealogy Research" by Denise R. Larson. And to show that I'm not all that selfish, I'm giving both of them away. That's right. GIVEAWAY! [And there's no expirations on these either. Thank my lucky stars.]
Geni - Okay. This company is AWESOME. They sponsored our Ice Cream Social on Friday night. AND they gave each of us a 1-year subscription to their Geni Pro portion of their site. AND I picked up one of their pens at their booth. [Yeah. I'm one of those freaky pen people & their pen? Works like a charm.] Well, since I missed out on the Genealogy Gems one, I'll give this one away too. GIVEAWAY!
Joan Merritt, Personal Publishing Consulltant for Heritage Makers - A handy dandy pen. Again, I'm a pen freak and am easily wowed with a great writing pen. While I'm writing, go check out her website. Great place to make one-of-a-kind memories with your family history research.
Legacy Family Tree - This company is FAN-tabulous. Their giveaway? A set of 10 Webinar-on-Cd's. I'm breaking up the set and giving them away. Yup. 10 GIVEAWAYs, people. [You can thank me later when you win one.]
Light Impressions - pH Testing Pen. Sorry. Keeping this one. Have some papers to test. But, for goodness sakes, check out their website.
My Heritage - Generously donated a Free PremiumPlus Membership as an add-on to their My Heritage Family Tree Builder Software. Expiration is June 20, 2011 [Yikes.] So, I'm thinking a Father's Day GIVEAWAY!
National Institute of Genealogical Studies - A gift certificate for 1 Record or General Methodology Course that expires August 31, 2011. As much as it pains me, folks, I'm keeping this one. [Don't tell me you wouldn't. Cuz you would.] However, check out their site and see what courses you'd might like.
Maureen Taylor - The Photo Detective - Advertisement
Photos Made Perfect - Another handy dandy pen. [Pen freak that I am, LOVE it.]
Rootsmagic - Advertisement - Um. I use their Rootsmagic4 software and their Family Atlas software. And? Can't say enough good stuff about this company and their software. Plus? Met Bruce Buzbee. Great guy. Go check out their website.
WikiTree - Hello? Love the Geneabloggers' t-shirt. On the back there's this QR code. And? Scanned it. Too funny! If you're not using WikiTree for researching, why not? Get on over there and check 'em out!
World Vital Records - A FREE 6 month subscription to their database. And, yes, I'm giving this one away too. [See? I'm not selfish. Much.]
So. There you go. My disclosure of everything I received in my Geneabloggers Swag Bag and of everything I'm sharing with y'all. Just as soon as I can think up of some crazy stuff for y'all to do. [Oops. I mean a contest for y'all.] Hm...
Look at all that Geneablogger Swag.
[Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of Legacy Family Tree, and I receive a commission on all sales made in their store where you have clicked on a link to them on my website.]
Yeah. Sure. There's a ton a reasons why a Geneablogger should want to go to Southern California Genealogical Society's Annual Jamboree conference. Like you meet all those people you've been talking to online. Like you learn new stuff about genealogy.
But? Let's not forget all the free stuff you get just because you're a Geneablogger. That's right. Thomas MacEntee, founder of Geneabloggers, along with the assistance of Joan Miller, author of the blog Luxegen Genealogy and Family History, and Amy Coffin, author of the We Tree Genealogy Blog, put together some awesome swag for the Geneablogger bags.
Weren't able to make it Jamboree this year? Don't despair. Right here at For Your Family Story, I will be running some contests for some of the stuff. That's right. FREE stuff for you.
The first thing I'm sharing with you is from Legacy Family Tree. They included a coupon in our bags for ALL of our blog readers. Through June 30th, 2011, you can receive 20% off anything in their Legacy Store. So go shopping for goodness sakes. Don't wait. You can even buy GenSmarts in their store, which is a very helpful piece of software that I happen to use & recommend.
In addition, I am an affiliate of Legacy Family Tree and whenever you click on a link on my website in order to purchase something in their store, I receive a commission. [Full disclosure.] Additionally, to receive the discount, you must use coupon code: genblog20 AND the link to their store is:
So what are you waiting for?
[Just in case you missed it: I'm an affiliate of Legacy Family Tree, and I receive a commission on items bought in their store if you click on one of my links on my website to get to their store.]
Who's that Peter? Why he's a parrot. Silly. Fun at the SCGS2011's Jamboree.
Only for Thomas MacEntee would I get up so early. I was dressed and down in line with bells on, as my Gran used to say, for Thomas' presentation, "21st Century Marketing for Genealogy Societies" at 7:30 this morning. And you know what? I 'm so glad I did. Thomas just has a gift for taking the technological stuff [Yes. That's technical jargon.], breaking it down, and delivering it in bite-sized pieces even my Pug, Millie, could understand. [Seriously.] Plus? The scrambled eggs were divine, which probably had to do with all that nice butter they were cooked in. Yum.
And I like what Thomas had to say at the beginning. He mentioned that the social media tools that are available for societies to use to promote themselves are absolutely perfect for professional genealogists to use as well to promote themselves. [He always has such great ideas.]
And I think you can take it one step further. These same social media tools are perfect for any genealogist or family historian to use to promote themselves. Why would a genealogist or family historian want to promote themselves, you ask?
Why not? Don't you want to connect with other people that are like-minded? How 'bout those cousins? If you don't set up what I like to call a Social Media Beacon on the Shores of the Internet, how will your "lost-at-sea" cousins find you? A message in a bottle?
After Thomas presentation, I mosied on over to Blogger Summits 1 & 2, and it's always exciting to see the uninitiated get inspired to start a genealogy blog. They get a certain glimmer in their eyes. Perhaps it's the idea of the potential of connecting with cousins. Or perhaps it's the idea of writing for an audience that actually wants to know all about your crazy Great Aunt Bernice and why she ran off with that carny. Whatever it is, though, it's awesome, and I can't wait to read their stories. [I never get tired of stories.]
Then after a lovely Greek lunch with Amy from the blog, We Tree Genealogy Blog, and Tonia from the blog, Tonia's Roots, I listened to a wonderful presentation from Dave Obee, "Destination Canada." With his wonderful Canadian accent, Dave provided wonderful insight into the availability of naturalization and immigrant records, which I hope will help me with my [Gasp!] Loyalist line as well as one of my husband's lines that moved to the frosty north.
And tonight? The banquet with Curt Witcher's presentation, "The High Tech and High Touch of 21st Century Genealogy." By the end of it, I expect to be on a genealogy high. Even more than I am now.
See? I told you that genealogy is not boring or stuffy. Yesterday at SCGS 2011 Jamboree, I learned all about prostitution in the the Wild West with Jana Sloan Broglin, CG, including the deplorable conditions that they experienced and methods on tracing them. Great ideas and advice.
The second presentation that I went to yesterday was NEHGS David A. Lambert's presentation on using their website AmericanAncestors.org ~ which will come in handy when I can find the time to tackle my Massachusetts Bay Colonists. Oh. And my Loyalist family from Connecticut. [How could I forget them?] Lambert pulled in a standing room only crowd. [But me? I was there early and had an "end" seat. Cuz that's how I roll. Most of the time.]
And now? Central Mexico. No. I don't have any ancestors from there [at least none that I know of]. But I'm from the Texas-Mexico border and do some research in the border states of Mexico. I think this was my favorite session on Friday. John Schmal, the presenter, was so obviously knowledgeable about researching in Central Mexico, and gave some VERY helpful information, which I'm sure my clients will be thankful for.
This, folks? Is why going to genealogy conferences is so important. You never know what you might learn. What tidbit advice you might get that will break down that 20 year old brick wall. Plus? Getting to meet all those online peeps in person. In. Real. Life. [So that your family can stop thinking you're weird because you only communicate with live people about dead people through the internet. Or is that just me?]
Rettie Maye (Martin) Marshall.
What does the face of your genealogy look like? What do your family's stories sound like? Don't know but want to know?
If you are in or around Southern Cali this next week, Jun 10th-12th, then drop on by the Southern California Genealogical Society's 42nd Annual Jamboree, where you will find a whole slew of people ~ from beginner to professional ~ learning how to find their past. Their history. Their stories. And the face(s) of their genealogy.
I assure you that you will be in good company. How can I be so sure? 'Cause I'll be there. *snort* That's right. I'll be soaking up all those Southern Cali rays [Oops. I mean, soaking up all those finding-my-ancestors-how-to's.]
So. Will I see you there?
If you can't make it, but, um, maybe I've sorta kinda gotten you just a wee bit interested in what your genealogy face(s) look(s) like, then perhaps it's time you met Great-Aunt Bernice and my "Getting Started" series for newbies. Oh. And get a load of this face above from my own genealogy, my grandmother, Rettie Maye (Martin) Marshall, a.k.a., "Paw Paw".
Yup. You read correctly. I'm an Official Blogger for FGS2011!
The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this year ~ Pathways to the Heartland ~ is being held in Springfield, Illinois September 7-10. That's right 4 jam-packed FAN-tabulous days of genealogy fun! Seriously? I was going over all the sessions last night that are available for this conference. And? My head hurts [in a good way] with all the opportunities for learning and networking. This is a must-see-must-attend-absolutely-gotta-be-there conference.
And if that doesn't get you there, then maybe this will. I will be there. Reporting. Interviewing. Dining. Networking. You know, the usual hard work.
BUT, what if you can't make it? Don't worry. I and this outstanding list of esteemed Official FGS Bloggers will be blogging about the vendors, the food [Apparently, Amy Coffin over on her blog, We Tree, will be scoring and blogging about some ~from what I hear~ fantastic bacon from a particular vendor.], the socials, the lectures, and, well, everything.
Now, in the months, weeks, and days leading up to FGS2011, I will be spotlighting on this blog and on my Family Stories blog any conference news, interviews with planned conference lecturers & vendors, historical places to visit near the conference, and local resources for opportunities to research in and around Springfield.
At the conference, I will be Tweeting [ @FamilyStories ] and blogging conference news, interviews, photos, etc.
After the conference, I will be blogging my thoughts, meditations, and the like of the FGS2011 Conference. [And definitely more pics.]
Oh my. I'm gonna busy. [A good kinda busy.] I am so very excited and honored to have been chosen to be an Official Blogger for the FGS2011 Conference!
Now for the "legal business." In exchange for all of the above listed tasks, I am receiving the following from FGS:
So, will I see you there? Goodness, I hope so.
Until then, keep an eye out for all the FGS2011 Conference news via my blogs, Family Stories and/or For Your Family Story, via Twitter, and via Facebook.