I had lunch recently with Phyllis Quarg and Pam Journey of the San Diego Genealogical Society. Phyllis and Pam are planning a late April trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and I wanted to hear about it. Since my trip to the Northern Plains is over the same dates, I had to pass on Salt Lake. Hopefully, though, I’ll get there later in the year.
I asked Phyllis if she went to the library with a specific game plan. She told me it’s best to go with one problem to solve, plus another as a back-up. Her advice was “don’t go and try to solve every problem in your pedigree chart.”
As I drove home, I realized how useful her advice was for any research trip. I often go to my local Family History Center with a half dozen things I’m looking for, and I find it really scatters my attention. The days I’ve gone with a single purpose are generally the days I find the most information.
The same goes for the Internet. If you’re using the Net to search for ancestors, get online with a specific goal in mind. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lifetime jumping from one site to another, with no real success. For some reason, I’m far more organized with my Internet searches than my library visits. Wonder why?
How do you approach library or Internet visits? Do you have a game plan, or just a general idea of what you want to find? Write and let me know—I’m always looking for ways to do more efficient research.
For more on organizing your genealogy searches:
• Tips for Using Search Engines Effectively
• About the Family History Library in Salt Lake
• Producing Quality Research Notes
• Elements of a Research Plan
• Preparing to Visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City
• Your Key to the Vault