Family History Projects
By Dale E. Lee
Before I begin the post today, I want to mention that the FamilySearch project to index the US 1950 Census is almost complete. To view the results and search on people that have been indexed, see https://www.familysearch.org/1950Census/.
Most of the efforts we do in Family History are Project based, whether writing our personal history, or reviewing gravesites, or researching information on our ancestors. Projects should have clearly defined objectives, so that distractions will not side track you from completing them. They should be planned, executed, tracked and reviewed. But those new to Family History might ask What kinds of Projects can I get involved with in Family History besides documenting my four generation chart?
The following are some suggestions of the kinds of Projects you can get involved with. They are only broad categories. When you gear up a real project, you’ll want to narrow it down to something that is realistic to accomplish in a limited period of time. But the list should give you some ideas of things you may be interested in, some of which you may not have thought of.
Census: Review censuses for all of the people you have in your Family Tree to find information that may be missing, such as brothers and sisters that are not yet known.
Data Entry: Enter all of the information you were able to collect from your family into a desktop application.
DNA: Search for the best DNA test needed to solve the Family History problem you are face, then take the test and try to identify matches to living people you can communicate with to gain additional information about your family.
Documentation: Once you have family information entered into a desktop application or Web Application, go back through all the people and their event dates and add documentation, such as images of birth, marriage and death records, to prove that the events did occur. Verify your documents.
End of Life: Collect information on the wishes of those getting older to be sure that the events that happen after death go according to their wishes, or have them do so. For example, plan the funeral agenda, plan the burial arrangements, choose the grave and casket, etc. Also remember to record information about their lives which you can present at the funeral.
Family History Vacation: Plan and go on a vacation to a historic site, county record repository, or graveyard where information on your ancestors may be located.
Graves: Review grave websites and collect images of the graves of your relatives.
Indexing: Help large organizations index records they have digitized. This helps build the indexes needed to power the search engines others can use to find records on their ancestors.
Journals: Scan in any hand-written journals from your ancestors. Then transcribe the journal into a text document and share both the scans and the text with others.
Organize: Create a family organization, call officers, and have them help in finding and or paying for someone else to extend the family lines through dues paid.
Personal History: Record your own life line and life history, so your descendants will know who you are and what you went through in your life.
Professionals: Hire a Professional Genealogist to help you in areas of the world that would be difficult for you to personally research.
Record: Sit down with other relatives and record their life stories electronically. This will give their relatives the chance to hear their voices from beyond the grave.
Research: Use searches, county records, archives, social media groups, genealogical societies, etc., to extend your family lines.
Reunion: Hold family reunions to provide family unity and get pictures of those still alive. Play games that include information on members of the family.
Training: Get the additional training needed for researching a particular part of the world you need to research. This may include customs, language, rules and regulations.
Verify the Data: Once documents have been entered into a repository, verify that the documentation is also correct. If others did the entry, test their assumptions to see if they are valid. If documentation is missing, try to find it. Some source documents have higher priority than others, so if there are two conflicting documents, the one with the highest priority should be the deciding factor, given that it corresponds with all other information gathered.
Website: Create a website as a memorial to your deceased relative. Members of the family can add to the memories and pictures over time.
Write: Ask your extended family to send you information on their families, then publish the materials they give you in a binder and send it out to the families that respond.
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