Family History: Starting Easy

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
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Do you feel like you need to start over or are you getting into family history for the first time? You have come to the right place. Even seasoned family historians can learn something for the first time as we go over the principles of doing family history.

So, how does a beginner find the right path for getting started with family history? I do not like to overwhelm because there is so much you can talk about when you discuss family history.

There is so much technology available to us now. The things we do now are done in an easier way. You could be just a beginner, or you may feel like you need to start over. The process for finding and recording and sharing what you know has changed, but it is easier now than it has ever been.

Easiest Path

One thing we will do is to chart the easiest path. I have taught countless people how to get started. They have gone on their own following the principles that they learned and practiced. They have become more efficient or more successful.

Small Bits of Time

The first thing we will learn is that we can perform tasks in small bits of time. You do not have to spend hours and hours at a time—only if you want to! Before you sit down and get started set the timer to 15 or 20 minutes. You can accomplish so much more than you normally would.

You also can find information quickly with the technology that is out now. is free and has been programmed and designed for someone who is just starting to build a tree and find records right away if you follow the easy principles.

Be Organized

The other thing that was a real big challenge for me in the beginning was staying organized, and I had boxes of papers. I do not know if any of you have been in the same position, but it took me over thirty days just to get through my papers. I realized that I had three or four death certificates to document the same person, and every time I found that death certificate, I got excited as if it were the first time I found it. So, helps me stay organized because you can use that program to enter and attach records, and you do not have to carry these records around with you. When I end up at the archives or courthouse, I can pull the record up on my mobile device and access the family tree.

It also makes it easier if you’re organized to share with your family. It makes it easier to know where the holes are in your research—where you should start or what you are trying to find. It’s not such a big hassle or an ordeal to stay organized with the new technologies that are out there. is not the only one. It is just the one with which I am starting.

Sharpen the Saw

Before we move on to the next lesson, can you pick any area above where you feel you could become a little more efficient? Do you have an area not mentioned above? Let us know in our Facebook Group.

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