365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: February 2006

365 Ways to Discover Your Roots: February 2006

Make 2006 a breakthrough year for your family tree quest with our tip-a-day research calendar.

 1. Observe Black History Month by reading Alex Haley’s Roots (Random House, out of print). Although its research has been disputed, this book and the TV miniseries it inspired are often credited with sparking genealogy’s popularity boom.

2. Start a biographical worksheet for each person you’re researching (download our free one online). If you have a photo, include a copy on the sheet.

3. Continue yesterday’s biography project—it’s a big job.

4. Is your genealogy software working for you? Check the manufacturer’s Web site for upgrades, or try out a different program. You’ll find software comparisons in the 2005 Genealogy Guidebook, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine.

5. Gather your research materials and trek to your nearest FHC to put in your microfilm requests, firing enough cash to cover the rental fee (about $3 per roll).

6. Assemble a travel-friendly research binder with copies of your pedigree charts and family group sheets, your to-do list, a list of alternate spellings for surnames and places, and note-taking forms.

7. Read about Black History Month at <usinfostate.gov/usa/blackhis/history>.

8. Try “e-scrapbooking” (designing scrapbook layouts on a computer) your digitized pictures and documents. See the December 2003 Family Tree Magazine.

9. Create timelines for your ancestral families to place them in historical context. Genelines, a paid download from Progeny Software <www.progenysoftware.com>, can make this task easier.

10. Tune into a genealogy talk show from the GenealogyGuys <genealogyguys.com> using an iPod or other MP3 player.

11. Write a character sketch (a simple description based on your research) about a favorite ancestor. See Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s You Can Write Your Family History (Betterway Books).

12. Today’s the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. See his family tree at <www.genealogy.com/famousfolks/abrahaml>.

13. Look around the Godfrey Memorial Library <www.godfrey.org> Web site. Let our review <www.familytreemagazine.com/articles/jun05/godfrey.asp> help you decide whether to become a member.

14. Happy Valentine’s Day! Write the story of how your favorite ancestral couple (or you and your spouse) met.

15. Work sideways: Research the sibling or cousin of an elusive ancestor.

16. Power up your online searches by studying the database’s search hints pages—then use the advice.

17. Purchase photo-storage boxes, negative sleeves and a photo-labeling pencil from a supplier such as Archival Methods <www.archivalmethods.com> or Archivers <www.archiversonline.com>.

18. Move your photographs from their shoeboxes into the storage boxes you bought yesterday. Try to sort them chronologically, and label die backs with names and dates if you know them.

19. Download the free Article Reading List from our Web site and fill in journal articles you want to read.

20. Most federal and state offices are closed for Presidents’ Day. But the Internet is always open—check up on your message board postings.

21. Study the African-American family history research tools at AfriGeneas <www.afrigeneas.com> and in our online African-American Toolkit <www.familytreemagazine.com/ethnic_cat.asp?ethnicity=AfriAmer>.

22. George Washington is honored today. Could you be related to the father of our country? View his family tree at <www.fortedwards.org/history/gw-tree.htm>.

23. E-mail or snail mail ancestral photographs to a relative who may have new information about them.

24. Add scanned photos to the family data in your genealogy software.

25. This month in 1927, a conversation between San Francisco and London set a long-distance telephone record. Call a faraway relative.

26. Peruse some of the journal articles on your reading list. Log your notes.

27. Contact your family reunion planner and offer to help organize a family history activity. You’ll find 23 ideas in the June 2004 Family Tree Magazine.

28. Review your to-do list and research goals. Cross off completed items and add new ones. Are you on track?

From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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