Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beginners Genealogy Recipe Book - Preparation

I get 10-12 requests a week for mentoring newbies into the life of a genealogist. So, why not break it up into a seven course recipe book? We can move slowly from one step to the next. If you have questions, need more detail information, or just plain confused, send me a note and I will address to all. Enjoy the Preparation Step.

Recipe for Efficient Preparation

1 computer, preferably laptop
1 genealogy software database (check the used bookstore)
1 printer (preferably a 5 in 1 type setup for copies and fax)
1 external backup system (may be a flash-drive or CD)
1 telephone
1 online directory (your favorite)
1 local library (or more based on convenience and resources)
1 large notebook binder (may substitute the equivalent of a yellow pad, but will want a storage unit for papers)
3-4 sharpened pencils (with an eraser)

Setting Up:
Set aside a block of time. Call your local library branch to find the best genealogy library in your area. In the first page of your notebook, start a directory page of resources. Be sure to make a checklist of the following: Library Name, telephone number, genealogy reference librarian’s name, Heritage remote access availability from library, and library access. Be sure to ask if there is a dedicated area for genealogical research. Also, check if there are time limitations for computer use and if this time limitation applies to the genealogy area. Mark off any library that does not allow for extended computer for research. You will need to do some research using library databases (i.e. at the library for now. (No need to purchase this software yet, will address later).

Your Genealogy Software:
Install genealogy software. You’re just getting started, so you only need the basics for organization – a names and data database with a notes page and a place to store photos. Try your used book store for an inexpensive one.

If you are using a CD or flash drive as your backup, be sure to label them and set aside. If you are using an external backup system, I suggest you set up the file folder now.

You are now ready to visit your genealogy library.