Having one-word prompts for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is proving to be quite challenging for me. I know in some ways it gives the writer a little more “scope for the imagination” but sometimes it’s too broad. So much so it takes me to the next week to figure out what to say. And I even went on a 2-mile hike and constantly mulled over what I could write about… and then it hit me, I have changed as a family historian.
When I began this journey 5 years ago, I was a “plop the name in the search box and see what information came up” type. I felt a little advanced from the get-go as I broadened my searches with initials, seldom using cities to find what I was looking for and using states instead, and using both maiden and married names when looking for my female ancestors. But now I know that’s just common sense.
It did not take me long to begin saving copies of the documents I found and setting up an online folder system that works for me and I know where everything is.
Then I began taking classes, first at my local library over topics such as immigration, how to use Ancestry or Fold3, how to use historical newspapers, and how to identify photographs (just to name a few).
But then I went to my first Family History Day at my local Family History Center that my dad saw advertised in our local newspaper. An entire day of classes on various topics dealing with genealogy? I had no idea such bliss existed. And it was free!!!
My world changed that day. I discovered lecturers that I could listen to all day. They are the hands on type of speakers showing how to do case studies in a step by step manner. Or they give you an abundance of ways to search for records and where to search for records that you end up going home and discovering that you yourself are implementing what you have learned on a daily basis.
I then found myself joining my local, state and national genealogical societies to continue to learn. The Spring of 2019 I went to my first conference (and attended my second this past Spring as 2020 was cancelled due to Covid). With every class I learn a little more, and as Peggy Clemens Lauritzen said in her key note speech to open the 2021 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, you are never the same family historian because each day you learn something that you carry over to the next day.
Now I’ve gone on a research trip to where a bulk of my paternal ancestors lived, 2 conferences, 3 Family History Days, on my 4th year of being a member of Family Tree Webinars all so I can hope to successfully continue finding my people. I also have become pretty good and looking up other online information that has been digitized using the Card Catalog on Ancestry, using image searches on FamilySearch and no one loves those gossip sections that give all sorts of details about your relatives than me in Newspapers.com.
So if you are just beginning your family research, or you have been doing it for decades, every day you change, so continue to bloom!