When it comes to creating a really in-depth family history and family tree, genealogy researchers would be lost without their databases and websites. The wealth of information available online and through other researchers around the world makes family tree research easier than ever.
However, the world of genealogy is large, and the number of experts who want to help you take your family tree research to the next level is growing. Every monthâ€”even every week!â€”you can find a long list of genealogy workshops, webinars, and conferences all across the country. There are so many opportunities to deepen your knowledge of family history records and advanced research skills.
So how do you take advantage of all the resources out there? Here are some tips on making the most of those chances to learn even more about genealogy to create the best family tree.
- Make It a Priority. You barely have time to do your regular family tree researchâ€”how are you going to fit even more obligations into your day? You need to make learning a priority. It's an investment in your own personal growth as well as a way to make the family tree you create for your loved ones even more extraordinary. Regularly look for webinars or workshops that fit into your schedule and then commit to spending that time, whether it's once a week, once a month, or once every few months.
- Consider Your Budget. There are plenty of free learning experiences, but don't be afraid to spend the money on experience and advice from the experts. Some of the best conferences, workshops and webinars come with a price tag, but it is often more than worth it. Carefully consider what the event is offering, and how well it fits your interests, and then go ahead and spring for it. Usually you'll be glad that you didn't miss the experience.
- Be Selective. If you had the time and money, you could attend any genealogy event anywhere and learn something exciting and new every time. But it's more important to be selective. Again, really think about your current family tree, and then consider what you want to learn. What skills do you want to improveâ€”your research? Your storytelling? What kind of knowledge do you want to gainâ€”a survey of Irish history? An overview of how Latin American surnames are inherited? What ideas do you want to develop, and where do you want to go next? Write that list down and keep it by your side as you consider the kinds of workshops you want to spend your valuable time and budget on.
- Take Advantage! You've committed to learning more, you've carefully decided on your budget and the kind of event you want to attendâ€”now make the most of this opportunity! Don't just sit still and listen. Participate! Offer your own insight, and ask as many questions as want. Even ask the ones you think might be foolish or not important. It's pretty likely several other people there are wondering the exact same thing you are. At a genealogy event, you have a great opportunity to really take advantage of the expert advice and experience and opinions of genealogists at every stage in the field; take advantage of it!
- Network. While you're asking questions and learning more from the genealogists around you, you're creating important connections. You are all now part of a network that can help support and aid each other in to help create a family tree. Genealogy shouldn't be practiced in a vacuumâ€”it takes collaboration and insight from everyone. Make sure you walk away from your event with the contact information of people you want to stay in touch withâ€”and then stay in touch!
- File Your Knowledge. When you go to these events, bring a pen and paper, bring a laptop, bring a recording deviceâ€”just make sure you're keeping track of what you're learning, and noting down all your new thoughts, your new ideas, and everything you've gained. Keep your notes and your handouts safe and easy to refer back to. When you have the knowledge you've learned at your fingertips, you're always ready to face any family tree challenge that comes up.
- Practice! Come home from your eventâ€”and then put those new skills to work while the information is still fresh in your mind. It's the best way to take full advantage of the time and money you've spent. More importantly, it's the best way to continue to expand, grow, and improve your skills and your knowledge as you grow your family tree. And that's why you attend these events, isn't it?