Jeanne Bunting is a well renowned family historian. She regularly gives lectures to family history societies around the UK.
Here she tells us her top 10 tips for people new to family history.
- Always go back to the original record; never rely solely on a transcription.
- Always record names, dates, places and sources.
- Keep a research log and record what you searched for, what you found and what you didn’t find. This can save you going over the same ground again.
- Be methodical – discipline yourself not to collect more information until you have processed the previous collection.
- Back up your information regularly. If it is on computer, keep copies in different locations and on different media (frequently refresh the media). Also keep a copy on the internet. If it is paper based, photograph and/or photocopy it and keep copies in different locations.
- Talk to your oldest relatives. Names, dates and places are important. Talk to your children. Grandparents often tell their grandchildren things they didn’t tell their own children.
- Never add someone else’s family tree to your own in your genealogy program. Check every piece of information and then add it to a copy of your own.
- See which genealogy websites your local library subscribes to and use the computers there. Subscribe to a different site for home use.
- Put the meat on the bones. Find out about the kind of lives they led and place them in their time period.
- Last, but by no means least, remember that you can’t do it all on the internet.