Where do you spend the majority of your time researching your genealogy? Most likely you are home alone searching on your computer for names.
Genealogy is often a solitary activity but it doesn’t have to be. To do your best research you should surround yourself with a virtual neighborhood. What does a genealogy neighborhood consist of? It might differ according to the location you research, the research questions you have, or the help you need to be successful.
Think of the neighborhood you live in. Your physical neighborhood has not only your neighbors but also businesses, services, and helping professions. In my personal neighborhood are my neighbors and a few blocks from my home are my eye doctor, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and the public library. I don’t need all of these services every day but I know where to go when I do need them. Your genealogy neighborhood should be very similar.
What do you need for your genealogy neighborhood? Consider:
We all need a support system that will listen to our successes, help us brainstorm, and be there when things don’t go as expected. In our genealogy neighborhood, this might be family, friends, or other genealogists.
What questions do you have? What is your brick wall? Genealogy societies near you and in the location where your ancestor’s lived, professional genealogists, researchers, and librarians are some examples of experts you may want to seek out.
There’s a real benefit to joining a community of genealogists whether it’s a society, an online group, or even networking at a conference. Hearing about other people's experiences can benefit your own research. When I started I began by researching with a cousin, then I joined a few societies, from there I became a regular at my local Family History Center where I began volunteering. Little by little I gathered a group of genealogical friends who shared their experiences and benefitted my research.
I remember when it was unique for a society to have a “computer users” group. But today, all genealogists are computer users and most likely spend the majority of their time on the computer. Technology is great until it doesn’t work or you aren’t sure how to use it. Tech help may encompass everything from fixing a computer to better understanding how to use your Legacy software.
Aside from identifying people or businesses that can help, make sure to take advantage of Legacy webinars that explain how to use technology, websites, and software. Take a look at the Webinar Library for webinars that might help you with your tech questions.
Genealogy is a Neighborhood
Your genealogy can benefit from a virtual neighborhood of people, repositories, webinars, and businesses that can help you do better research. Think about what you could use and start looking for “neighbors” who can help.