My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Being a Beginner Again

I have always enjoyed reading the article, "Being a Beginner Again" by Amy Johnson Crow, CG, written in 2003 for the National Genealogical Society's magazine. She has give me permission to use this topic for my blog. In all the beginner classes I gave in genealogy (as a volunteer), I always discussed this topic, and it seemed to make the beginning researchers feel good, because they felt they fit in with the other students in the intermediate and advanced student levels. She wrote, "A Colleague once passed along a very wise observation: 'No matter how long you've been researching, every time that you move your research to a new area, you're a beginner again.'"


After reading this, I would go on to try and explain that statement. At every new generation we tackle, we are all beginners. I am a beginner now try to trace one of my ggg grandmother's roots, just as another person who is working on their grandfather---we are all in the same boat.


I tell them that on February 18, 2003 Ancestry.com had one of their Instant survey's, there was a simple question and a choice of a few anserwers to choose from. On that day, it was "Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or expert when it comes to family hstory?" Once I plugged in my answer, I was then able to see the results. For this survey, 79% replied Beginner, 17% replied Intermediate and 4% replied Expert. I think this survey ties into the article, "Being a Beginner Again," it is true, we are all beginners with the line we are working on.


Your new search may continue in the same location as your previous generation. You will already be somewhat familiar with the resources. If the family moved, all the more fun in playing detective. To learn about the new location, read The Red Book to find out basic information, check out Google Maps (to see what towns and cities are nearby), Wikipedia for more background, contact (perhaps by internet) the local library and town hall in that area to see what records they have available. My Bishop line was in Connecticut from the 1650s until 1981 -- no real challenge there. But other lines out of Massachusetts migrated to Illinois, New York or Michigan forced me to learn much more and research harder. I loved it. Don't think of it so much as a hard challenege but as an adventure.


Have confidence that you will be successful either way, whether familiar or unknown locations, the research is basically the same. I have had my eyes opened to many new areas in the United States, can't beat that for an education.