Monday, March 2, 2015
Genealogy Do-Over Week 8
Welcome to week eight of the Genealogy Do-Over. Our topics this week are Conducting Collateral Research and Reviewing Offline Education Options. I have learned a lot in the last eight weeks not just from Thomas MacEntee but from the entire Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group too.
Conducting Collateral Research
I began actively researching my family and that of my children's paternal family at age 17 while I was living in Montgomery, Alabama. My methods of researching are self taught through the many trial and error approaches of a young woman who didn't have a clue as to what she was doing at that time. However, the one thing I did with every single family and continue to do so now is collateral research.
When I began it never occurred to me to only do my direct line. Where was the fun in that? How would I learn about this grandparent's family and that cousin's family? For me collateral research is paramount to my research of any family. How can you research a family and not research everyone in that family? I can't and it is my own personal bright shiny object (BSO) because I have this overwhelming need to know what happened to each member of the family. I believe this need comes from not only nosiness but also because I am adoptee. It is a powerful need in me to find out as much as possible for every member in the family I am researching.
My Mom has two siblings while my Dad only has one. Researching their siblings and their respective spouses was an easy choice to make. I have included all of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as well. I have also researched my three brother in laws and my sister in law's families as well. For me this is a labor of love for my family.
My plan now is that I will continue conducting collateral research but I am going to try to keep it on a smaller scale. By smaller scale I mean that I will not necessarily do collateral research on every single family member in my tree such as a 3rd cousin 3 times removed, which is something I tend to do. That being said if I find a family or individual who I think is interesting or if their story is one that I cannot let go of then I will follow it right down the rabbit hole and see where it will take me.
Reviewing Offline Education Options
I would have loved the opportunity to attend a university that offered a degree in family history or genealogy. I didn't know that was even possible when I was in high school in the late 1970's. I would love to be able to attend a genealogy conference or attend a week long "intensive" institute class but right now that is not possible but I hope it will be in the future.
I have in the past taken an online course through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies at the University of Toronto as well. For now I will continue to take advantage of courses offered online by Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree University and individual webinars that are offered by our fearless leader, Thomas MacEntee in the form of "boot camps".
In the meantime, I am yearning for more advanced classes with a more "hands on experience" or a "in the trenches" approach in certain areas of genealogical research. I will keep tabs on all genealogical educational opportunities by using Google alerts especially in the states where I do the most research. I am also actively looking for genealogy and/or historical society opportunities to further my genealogy education.
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