8. Get a Family Coat of Arms - All families have a coat of arms. Make sure you grab yours and display it prominently on the front cover of your family tree book. This will add an air of importance and authenticity to your epic tome.
9. Citations Are Not Necessary – Who has time to create elaborate citations for every new piece of information about your ancestors? Everything is on the internet. Simply bookmark your sources and move on.
10. Ignore Minor Things Like Spelling – The great thing about having all genealogy records on the internet is that someone has taken the time and effort to transcribe original documents. You don’t have to spend your time trying to read and decipher them. You can trust the people making the transcription to do a good job. They are experts in their field. After all, it is not like the largest genealogy company in the world at one time had many of their records transcribed in China, where English is not their first language. And the records were written by hand in a script that is often hard to read. Even for a native English speaker. Not a problem. Don't worry about it. Besides, people know how to spell and there is no such things as unusual names.
11. Fill in the Blanks – Gaps often occur when building family trees. Don’t worry about it. It happens. The important thing is to make sure it doesn’t slow you down. When you have a blank space in your family tree, take an educated guess, fill it in and move on. Your intuition is most likely correct.
12. Dates Are Fluid – Your ancestors, unfortunately, were not very good at writing down dates. Like what year they were born. Often they guessed. This can occasionally lead to unusual date combinations. Such as children being born before their parents. Don’t worry about this kind of minor detail.
13. Fact Checking is Not Necessary – Need we say it? A total waste of time. All genealogy records are on the internet and all records are transcribed by experts. So why bother to check facts? What do you expect to find? Errors?
14. Copy and Paste is Your Friend – Genealogy is such a popular hobby that many millions of people have already put their family tree on the internet. Someone distantly related to you may have already done part of your family tree. Go and look for it. You can create your own family tree by copying and pasting branches of other family trees that you find on the internet. What could be easier? And by the way, don't bother crediting your sources.
15. It Just Takes a Weekend - If you spend more than a weekend building your family tree then you are doing something wrong. GenealogyInTime Magazine has even put together a simple video to show you how to build your family tree in a weekend. Watch it and see how much you can learn.
Where to Start?
Everything in this article is wrong. Genealogy is not something that can be done from start to finish in a weekend. It is, however, an enjoyable activity that is done by millions of people. To get started, try talking to your ancestors. If you really want to get started right away on the internet, we suggest you read A Guide to Performing Online Genealogy Searches. Otherwise, look through our collection of genealogy articles to help point you in the right direction.
Need more inspiration? Check out this great video from the New York Public Library.
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