No, I am not a Genealogist, and I have a lot to learn. I have however become addicted to researching. I want to share with anyone just starting out the mistakes I have learned from.
1. Never copy someone else's research.
4 Look through everything in your own home. Even your parent's Home.
5 Talk and document everything your family can share with you on your family. Don't think you know it all.
7 Learn to enjoy grave yards. I have photographs of Kilsyth old church yard that have been useful. About 450 to be exact.
8 The internet is full of information just google the name. I have found several books, that were published from family notes, that took my family back some 783 years.
9. Remember you are only 1 of a million grand children. There are a lot of us out there that are related. It is their information too.
10. Share information. If you don't then their information will not get better and neither will yours.
11. If someone doesn't want to accept your documentation. OK. Leave them alone to their work. Just keep Documenting yours.
12. Be ready to accept you just might be the on who is wrong. The first time someone tried to tell me I was wrong I took it personally. So, I set out to prove I was right. Well, I wasn't and they were able to help me document my tree much better.
13. Did I say share? Well, do it! I have been able to work with other family members like 8th cousins and together we have been able to add so much documentation to our trees. She is good at documenting and I have learned I can trust her tree. She is the only one I will accept putting information on my tree from.
14 Since names change through History. Some to the point of not recognizable from the original name. Pick a spelling and stick to it. My example is Cleland and I use that spelling. At first I used several spellings that just confused my tree. So, I changed them all to Cleland with the understanding it might have a different spelling. Another one is Stuart/Stewart. I do use both spellings but I know to look under both spelling to find a person. Just do not use more than 2 spellings. You will get overwhelmed looking up someone on your tree.
15 And for ME and I emphasize "ME" - I do not add family to my tree unless they are Blood, married into or adopted. It got to the point I didn't know who was a direct line (Blood Related) or not. Many want to add everyone even their mother in law of her cousins wife. Trust me you will have enough of your own family once you get started. You do not need to add just to make your tree bigger. I have had to go back and delete a lot of folks because I did this to start with - Not a good practice.
17. Don't get impatient with road blocks. They happen. Documents were destroyed in fires, wars, and just plan not kept up. It happens. You have plenty of branches to work on. don't let one upset you. I have a great grandmother I cannot find - anywhere. I know from family she is Irish but that is about it. Then one family line I can take back generations.
18 Don't let other discourage you!! People get jealous and will not believe you if you take your family back to far. Sorry for them but I will not stop for them. They can de-friend me on FB and they have over jealousy. I do try not to brag because as I said I am only one of a million or two that have them as grandfather's and grandmother's. That one drop of blood does not make us who we are.
19. Admit you will have both good and bad in your tree. I have Kings and Murders in mine. Alcoholism, depression, you name it I have it.
20. Take a class. It takes time and cost but learn from real genealogist. You just might learn something you didn't know. Yes, I did do this and would like to take more.
21 Be ready - some family do not want to be found. Yes, that happened to me too and I took it personally.
22 and last but not least Document.