Before you start researching what should you do? – November 6th, 2019

Now before you start putting information into a family tree, you need to get that information which gives my first tip:

  1. Ask your family members, grandparents and get any nuggets of information that you can get e.g. Names of ancestors, dates, places, ask about photographs of ancestors. Stories from grandparents about their lives can be of use too!
  2. Keep a written & electronic record of information you’ve gathered so you can easily refer back to it at a later date. A binder would be a good place to keep all written information safe. A folder on a USB or a form of cloud storage e.g. Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive etc…
  3. See if anyone has already done some research, they may be able to assist you on your genealogy journey as there is no point trying to get over that hurdle if it’s already been passed.
  4. Try and include a family member in your research journey, it’s much more fun with others!
  5. I would also try and look online & see what’s available to you e.g. census records, birth, marriage & death records etc… so that you know what you can find when you start.

And finally: Never be afraid to ask others questions on anything in your journey. As always, stay tuned for more! Let us know your thoughts or if you have any questions in the comments below!

Introducing you to Walk My Past – February 1st, 2020

Now this site has been on the genealogy scene for quite a while and the founder Abbie Allen has a goal to get 1,000 genies on her website “Walk My Past”. At the time of writing this, she currently has 204 (2 of which are the Hidden Branch’s founders – Daniel & Emily) WMP has 54 help requests put up and 5 have been solved but the only way to solve them is by having more people join (so please do that you won’t regret it!) And since Walk My Past has made it into the genealogy website spotlight, it has received a lot of very high praise and has been able to help solve a number of brick walls for people. So what is Walk My Past’s mission?

  • To help people with their research where people can’t go themselves or are unable to travel for various reasons
  • To create a global network for people to help each other out whenever they need it
  • To provide a website that doesn’t have too many twists and turns when navigating

In my honest opinion, I have found Walk My Past to be a useful resource when I am researching and I know that if I can’t answer a question… Someone else may be able to help with it and I am always interested in new and exciting ways to bring the genealogy community closer together! She has also set up an easier way to talk to genies by creating a server on Mighty Networks. So go check her website out here!

The Flesh and Bones of Genealogy

Although I have only been doing genealogy for about two years, I have learned a lot about the subject in that time and feel somewhat confident in my knowledge of the field. So today, I would like to share a brand new way of thinking about how to structure your family history. I like to call it, “the flesh and bones of family history”. You may ask, “What do you mean by this?” Well, the way I envision genealogy, you are looking for two main things: statistical information about your ancestors and a lore or story to go with it. 

I like to think of the statistical information that we gather in our genealogy endeavors (such as dates, locations, relationships, etc) as the “bones” of our research because it serves as the foundation. It’s what makes our research seem “rooted in fact” and puts our ancestors at a specific place and time in history. Without it, our genealogy will simply just be made up of semi-legendary stories that we could never prove. 

On the other hand of the spectrum, the crazy family stories we come across and the lore of our genealogy, I like to think of as the “flesh” of our research because it’s what gives our ancestors character, uniqueness, a life story, and paints a vivid, exciting portrait of their lives. Without a lore or story to our ancestors, your genealogy would just be filled with an endless list of dates and names, which although can be interesting, is still a bit dry and rather boring, like a pile of bones.

To sum it up, my “flesh and bones” concept of genealogy is very similar to the idea of Yin and Yang in Chinese folklore, where you need two opposite things to make something whole. That is why you always need both the flesh and bones of genealogy.

Ideas for Staying Organized

Ideas for Staying Organized

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects in being successful with your genealogy research is staying organized. We have all once not been unorganized with family history research; having a messy tree, not properly sourcing your relatives, mistakenly recording that your distant ancestor was born before their parents, etc etc. It happens to everyone, and that’s ok. Now I am here to show you ways I think can help you stay organized, which will help you do more successful research!

Binders:

Binders have really helped me in my research and I have a very uniform way of keeping them, I keep these on my bookshelf in my room.

  • I have five different binders, four for my mom’s grandparents (my great grandparents) and one for my dad’s side (not much is known on that side) and also for recording more recent genealogy.
  • The four binders for my great grandparents are also divided into five sections, one section for the great grandparent, their siblings, and their parents, and the other four sections are also my great grandparent’s grandparents (my 3rd great grandparents).
  • This keeps the different branches of my family thoroughly separate.

Other Things Genealogy on my Shelf

Other genealogy related things I keep in my bookshelves are a memory keeper, where I can record family stories and tree charts, a family bible, and my grandparent’s wedding albums. The idea is to keep all your genealogy stuff in one area. 

With my family photos that I have gotten over the years, I keep those in a couple places in my room and closet, usually in little boxes and I organize these by family branch. For the family recipes that I have collected, I have a small binder where I write some down and also a small box filled with my great grandma’s recipes, which I organized in alphabetical order.

My Desk Cabinet

I also have a desk cabinet, which I keep a lot of genealogical documents, research, etc. How I organize these is I have different filing sections, this is how I do it…

  • The “Important” Section: This is where I keep important papers and documents, such as a paper I wrote about my civil war ancestors.
  • The Recent Project Section: This is where I keep things that I am currently working on.
  • Hole Punching Section: I keep family records that need to be punched for my binders in here.
  • Drawings: I store grave rubbings and drawings of family photos or houses in here
  • Giveaways: This section is to store family records that I am giving away to other family members, usually because a copy of a record was made.
  • Miscellaneous: This section is where I kept all other random things genealogy related!
  • Not to mention there are sections for things not genealogy related.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it is helpful with staying organized in your genealogy endeavors!