Friday, May 25, 2012

Nephew just starting out?

I have a nephew who is interested in family history and I'd like to tell him how to find the information you have documented on our grandmother's family, including the bios, the journal entries, obituaries, etc. I am having a hard time finding them. What is the best route? Thanks so much, Cousin Jane (Jacobs)

The majority of my personal genealogy work is not online. The best book on the Weiser surname comes from the Weiser Family Organization -- Weiser Families in America.

But for a nephew just starting out, I recommend:

These are just a few from a series of online genealogy training videos designed to help you quickly discover your family history.
I'd also recommend using a freebie genealogy program to keep track of what he discovers in his research. One might chose something RootsMagic, which like others has an upgrade if he wants to activate more options. It is a Windows-based program that works fine in a Windows emulator on a Mac. There are other software choices which may be more to his liking. See Cyndi's List: Software.

Since your nephew will be tracing many lines on his family tree, he'll have to study the specific area where the ancestor once lived. There are free online places that may prove useful. For this I recommend where experts from throughout the world have placed info about peculiarities of doing research in specific localities. See also:

  • FamilySearch (over 1 million new images of birth, marriage records, parish records, etc. each week, most not yet indexed, so browse by locality.)
  • USGenWeb (volunteers here sponsor state and county web pages with ideas about where to look next.
Most useful genealogy websites require a membership fee. I consider those fees small potatoes when compared to traveling to each distant ancestral home. The best paid sites include:,, (England & Wales), I've chosen just a few because so much depends on the ethnicity of the ancestor in question.

I don't recommend he initially use an online tree, but as his experience level increases, he may wish to join or WikiTree or and invite other family members to collaborate.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt      :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont 

1 comment:

  1. Dear MYRTLE,

    I took the WikiTree route, to gain some help from my FaceBook Generation cousins. Not that they will have a problem with WikiTree, I started them out with some help.

    It has worked to some degree and I think I have a way to help them along. It's a two prong approach. Get this specific group of young people to site down with their Grandmother, or in a couple of cases Great-Grandmother to listen to her stories. I have provided her with some pictures, to add to what she already has, and to give her a Hour-Glass Chart, so that the young folks can SEE where they fit in to the family.

    But, like your Carrie, we need to find ways to speak their language in a way that is of interest to them. (and, in my case, don't be in a rush to gain their interest).