Thanks to our new guest blogger, Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A., for today's article!
Family History Month,* and a perfect time to discover your roots, or catch
up on those family history tasks you’ve been meaning to work on. Although we’re already a couple weeks in, there are
still plenty of days left. Here are ten
great ways to celebrate.
1. Trace your family tree.
Use the month to build, edit, or update your family tree. Legacy Family Tree software makes this task easy to do. If you’re not yet a Legacy Family Tree User,
download the free version standard version
and give it a try. If you’re already
using Legacy, explore its mapping features to track an ancestor’s migration,
create any number of beautiful wall charts, or work on your source citations
with the new Legacy SourceWriter™ to ensure proper formatting.
2. Try a new tech tool. Technology is always evolving and genealogists
are finding new ways to integrate new tools and apps to help with research
tasks. Explore a new app for your
smartphone, or try out great cloud storage options like Dropbox.
Take advantage of all that Google
has to offer (Docs/Drive, Books, Translate, and more), contribute to a Wiki
such as the one at FamilySearch.org,
or build one of your own. To learn more,
check out Thomas MacEntee’s Legacy Webinars
available on these topics.
3. Make connections.
No genealogist is an island, so the more you can connect with family
members who may hold the answers to your family history questions the
better. Blogs are a great way to reach
out. In fact, they are often referred to as “cousin bait.” Find more than 2,800 genealogy/family history
blogs at Geneabloggers. And don’t forget social media (Facebook, Google
Plus, Twitter, Pinterest) to help you find long lost
relatives and connect with other researchers.
4. Tell a story.
Don’t be just a name collector, or fact curator. When possible, interview family members and
research the historical context of the time period, and then try your hand at
writing your family’s story. Don’t know
where or how to begin? My Legacy
webinars on “Ready,
Set, Write: Your Family’s Story” and
Writing Tools for Genealogists” can help get you started.
5. Do the DNA.
Hitting a brick wall in your research? Paper trail gone cold? DNA
testing is a great way to dig a bit deeper to unlock family relationships, or
to prove or disprove conflicting evidence in your research. Learn the basics and the various testing
companies and options by watching the free Legacy webinars on “DNA
Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics,” and “The
Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships.”
6. Go to the graveyard. Graveyards are really popular places in October thanks to
Halloween. But don’t get spooked. If possible, visit your ancestors’ final resting
places and photograph their tombstones. Using apps such as BillionGraves,
or Resting Spot make the job much
easier. If you are not able to
physically travel to a cemetery, try searching the large virtual gravestones
available on Find-a-Grave.com, or Interment.net.
7. Start a heritage craft.
With the holiday season just around the corner, why not consider giving
your loved ones the gift of family history? Starting now will ensure you finish in plenty of time. For example, wall charts are wonderful ways
to share your research (watch the free Legacy Webinar on “Further
Your Research and Unify Your Family Reunion with Beautiful Genealogy Charts”
to see all of the great ways to display your family tree). Other ideas include creating a memory book,
heritage quilt, or ornament—the possibilities are endless. For more inspiration, visit Heritage
Crafts on Pinterest.
8. Search a different database.
If you find yourself going back to the same genealogy databases or
websites time and again, shake things up a bit and visit a new one. You can use a site such as TopTenReviews to
view and compare a dozen of the most popular services (Note: not all databases are listed so you should
explore others on your own or read the blogs of other researchers for more
9. Prepare a favorite family
dish. Craving some of Auntie Ann’s apple crisp, or
grandma’s chicken soup? Family recipes
and traditions help us to more deeply understand and connect with our
heritage. If you have recipes that were
passed down, pick one or two of your favorites and make them during family
history month. If the recipes are handwritten on old recipe cards, scan them
and use a program like Evernote to save
and organize them.
10. Learn something new.
Legacy Family Tree is offering several great Webinars during the
month of October to help you with your research problems. If you can’t listen live, you can watch the
recorded versions for a limited time afterwards, purchase past webinars on CD,
and register for future webinars.
wonderful to have an entire month officially dedicated to the pursuit of family
history. Use the ten suggestions above
as a guide, and then come up with your own innovative ways to “show your roots”
Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer who has been
tracking her ancestors for more than 22 years. She is a frequent presenter for the Legacy Family Tree Webinars series
and can be contacted via http://www.lisaalzo.com.
the United States Senate officially recognized October as National Family
History Month, a time “to encourage family history research, education, and the
sharing of knowledge.” The bill,
[S.RES.175] was sponsored by Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. To read more, click here].