We all look forward to – in fact hope for – opportunities to help people get started with their family history! How do you help someone get started? What does the end look like? Where do we start? I still like to use the 2 sided handout provided by the church “How Do I Start My Family History?” (Free from the Distribution Center #32916000 or available as a pdf file at http://ftp.ldscatalog.com/en_US/32916000.pdf )
There are 4 steps: 1. Write down what you know, 2. Talk with your family, 3. Search other sources, and 4. Preserve and share what you have gathered. These steps are detailed on the handout which also provides a pedigree chart.
There are 3 basic forms a beginner needs to be using: a pedigree chart, a family group record (FGR) and a research log. Blank copies of these forms are available from many sources. Blank FGR and instructions on how to use them are available for free from the distribution centre (#31827000 pkt of 25, and #32948000 for instructions). Pedigree charts and research logs are also available from the distribution centre but not for free! If you go to wiki.familysearch.org and do a search for “Forms” and then take the link”Use Appropriate Forms” you will find an article that details how to use the forms and offers free downloads. The article also includes a section on using computer programs like PAF to generate blank forms.
Another helpful article at the wiki is ” Getting Started with Family History” which leads to a portal article for beginners. This lists a slightly different approach with five steps which the article calls Principles of FH: 1. Identify what you know, 2. Decide what you want to learn, 3. Select records to search, 4. Obtain and search the records, and 5. Use the information. Not a major difference although I think step 2 is helpful! Also on the wiki article you can click on any of these 5 principles and get a wealth of suggestions on how to proceed.
Don’t drown the interested beginner in all the knowledge and information you have! In our enthusiasm we sometimes tell the beginner too much too soon!
No two teaching situations are the same so prepare to be adaptable.
It is best to work with a beginner in their home where they have their information and perhaps a computer.
Talking of computers, see part 22 of this article next week!