Finding the Missing Pieces of your Family History
It's been a difficult week and probably not getting better anytime soon. I hope that all of you are being careful, social distancing and staying healthy. As many of you might know, I had a full shoulder replacement back in January. I've been doing great, and started PT in February. It was going very well, until last week. I developed pain in my shoulder (really the only pain I had had since the surgery) and discovered I had a stress fracture. I'm back to (almost) square one...no PT and back in a sling for three weeks. The doctor assures me that it won't change the overall outlook, just make the recovery a bit longer. Add to that the recommendation that over 65's self quarantine (my kids like to remind me I'm in the "vulnerable age category") and what is a genealogist to do? LEARN and RESEARCH!
I had a number of lectures and webinars scheduled with various societies, which have been cancelled or postponed (just to clarify the webinars were being delivered to Societies at their regular meetings which have been cancelled for the time being). But webinars are a great way to continue learning when you can connect from home. Have you seen the schedule for the Family History Library? This being the week of St. Patrick's Day the Irish topics are front and center. According to their website, althought the Library is closed, webinars will still be held. Below is their schedule for March 17th. I've got the Estate Records Webinar on my calendar. Remember that the times listed are Mountain Time so adjust as necessary. Don't forget that there are loads of free webinars and courses available from FamilySearch in their Learning Center on all sorts of topics.
I've also got "Researching Irish Ancestors - Genealogy with a Canadian Twist" on my schedule for Thursday, March 19th. Kathryn Lake Hogan at Looking4Ancestors is a Canadian genealogist and runs regular programs. Here's her Facebook page to get more information. Many of our ancestors came into Canada before entering into the US. I'm looking forward to learning more about Canadian records.
Here's the big one (and my shameless plug). I'll be doing a class in conjunction with Family Tree University beginning next Monday, March 23rd. I've spent the past few weeks updating the material, and it will cover: Finding the place in Ireland using US records; records that are available on Irish websites; what the "Genealogy Giants" have to offer; and what to do if you still can't find the information. In addition, I will be available each day during the two weeks of the class to answer questions. You can register for the class here.
There are lots of places to avail yourself of educational material, both free and paid. Start with reviewing the lectures and full courses available through FamilySearch. Check your favorite websites or software for their offerings...maybe there are some features that you're not using. Then check the commercial sites for classes, such as Legacy Family Tree Webinars. As I was writing this I got an email from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society that they are offering free Webinars March 16 - April 1.
Of course, you can always focus back on your own research. Has it been a while since you researched one particular family or problem? Start with a research plan and a research question. What resources are available (both online and off) that could answer your question.
It's also a great time to catch up on your reading. I happen to like a good historical novel and you can find a list of some of my favorites here. I've also listed books on the various Links and Resources pages.
Just because we are "social distancing" doesn't mean we can't be social. Facebook genealogy pages (not the ones that spread rumors and gossip) are a great way to meet new cousins and explore genealogical topics. Here's a post I wrote back in 2018 about Social Networking. The list now has over 14,000 sites. (In reviewing it, I discovered that the link to Katherine Willson's list of genealogy Facebook pages is broken. Here's the correct one.)
So there is a lot you can do while waiting for the COVID-19 virus to go away!
Don't forget to check out the offers on the Promotions page. Some end tomorrow.