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Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No. 37 - March 2010.

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1. Our welcome message.

2. Featured Article – Family History Research - Get Talking Before Going Online - By Claire Santry

3. Research information - One Great Family

4. Next Months Featured Article: Surname Spellings in Genealogy By: Rosamunde Bott

1. Our welcome message.

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of your favourite newsletter.

Last night I went along with Carol, who is now the membership secretary for the Doncaster & District Family History Society, to our monthly meeting.

We were a bit disappointed that our speaker could not give us the presentation that he intended, as his laptop had given up the ghost that morning. However he gave us a great presentation about Doncaster's history found by looking above the shop windows!

Many people visit Doncaster to do their shopping or to attend meetings and many other activities. But how many look above the modern shop windows and see the history of their town in all it's glory.

This was a fascinating talk and slide show and we had a very large turnout (we had to bring in extra seats!). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. I would strongly recommend joining your local family history society and learn more about your own town.

2. Family History Research - Get Talking Before Going Online - By Claire Santry

Family history research has gained in popularity at about the same rate as genealogical resources have gone online. Hundreds and thousands of websites and online databases now hold millions of records that can be accessed with just a click and, sometimes, a subscription. No wonder so many beginner genealogists believe all they have to do to find their ancestors is grab their credit card and turn on a computer.

But if you speak to many successful genealogists (and probably a good few not so successful genealogists, too) you will hear that their biggest mistake was not delaying going online or not failing to invest in the best family tree software imaginable. Their number one regret is that they didn't seek out and sit down with every one of their elderly relatives and quiz their recollections about people and events, listen to their stories, and ask them to identify the people and locations in all the unlabelled photographs in the family album.

No matter how many genealogy records are online, there is never likely to be a better resource than your own relatives for the facts and colour that reveal your family's story through the ages. These are the people who knew your ancestral characters first-hand, who heard the family tales while sitting at their grandfather's knee or who witnessed the pivotal or momentous events that occur in most generations.

So if you've decided to get serious about your family research, it's time to get talking to your relatives. Older relatives should be your priority because they are usually the best source of stories that date furthest back, but don't overlook younger family members. They may well have heard stories from an older generation that may now have passed away.

Approach the subject of an interview carefully. Tell the relative that the interview will be a time to chat about fond memories and tales. Reassure them that you want to hear their stories, their feelings about people and events, and you're not expecting dates, names and places. If your relative is really reluctant, suggest another person comes in on the interview - perhaps their spouse or child - to relieve some of the their anxiety about being put on the spot.

Let them see a list of your questions in advance. This ensures they have a chance to prepare, but let them know that it's perfectly okay to not answer a question. They don't have to give a reason.

The face-to-face interview is always easier for both parties, and often yields better results in terms of storytelling. Such a meeting may not be possible with each of your relatives, in which case opt for a telephone interview. Either way, be sure to follow the tips below for a successful interview:

· Arrange a date and time in advance and be punctual.

· Send your questions and any photos/documents you want to discuss, in advance.

· If phoning, accept the cost of the call (your relative may give abrupt answers if he/she is mindful of the phone bill).

· Record the conversation. Cheap gadgets are available. Using them allows you to concentrate on what your relative is saying rather than you struggling to keep up while making notes.

· Don't interrupt silences. Give your relative time to think.

· Keep the interview to one hour, maximum. Schedule a follow up call if necessary.

· Send a thank you note or gift after the interview.

A successful interview will bring you plenty of wonderful stories and details, may clear up mysteries, and may provide valuable clues for later investigation. So if you're starting out on your family tree research (or even if you're already further along!), don't head straight to the computer. It can wait. Chatting with great aunt Ellen, with Granddad Scully and second cousin James cannot.

Claire Santry is editor of http://www.Irish-Genealogy-Toolkit.com Irish Genealogy Toolkit, a free tutorial for Irish genealogy and heritage, where you can find more advice about finding family history through relatives.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com


3. One Great Family

Uncover Stories About Your Ancestors

When you research your ancestry, you will find more than just a family tree. Besides finding the names, dates, and records of your ancestry, you'll find the stories of your family - the real lives of people that will give you perspective on your own place in history. Many people find a great deal of emotional satisfaction in tracing their ancestry. They also discover that genealogy is a great way to bring together all the generations of the family.

Everyone can help as you begin to document your family history. The oldest family members can share memories of the good old days; these stories become fascinating when younger people realize the link between their grandparents and more distant ancestry. Younger children can help do the research by asking questions. Older children can discover the connections between the genealogical research and their history and geography lessons.

Your family will find additional benefits as you trace your lineage. Your shared heritage will come alive when family members understand how customs from the old country influenced their present-day lives. Additionally, you can revive old customs to discover how your relatives lived. Stories from your family history can add more meaning and joy to family holidays.

A unique feature of OneGreatFamily is that you can share your results with others who are tracing the same ancestry. Collaboration with other genealogists is one way to discover in depth information about your ancestors and uncover fascinating stories that make your ancestors more meaningful to you.

Visit OneGreatFamily and uncover the stories of your ancestors.


4. Next Months Featured Article: Surname Spellings in Genealogy By: Rosamunde Bott

When you are tracing ancestors, one of the most common problems you will come across is the variation in surname spellings...Read the full report in the next edition.

I really hope you enjoyed this months newsletter. And in case you forgot earlier - Please sign the  Guestbook.

Jim. Editor

PS. Please forward this newsletter to your friends/relatives if they are interested in family history, with our compliments.

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Or by snail mail to: Jim Ackroyd. Address: 12 Avondale Road. Doncaster. South Yorkshire. UK. DN2 6DE

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