The secret of seasoned genealogists
There is a way to save years in your family history research. Did you know? I must admit it hadn’t appeared to me before I came across the idea. But it’s really quite simple.
You make a research plan.
Personally I love browsing the records just to see what’s out there. I’ve found odd place names and local regulations that affected my ancestors. It’s fun and you can learn a lot this way. But it’s not the most effective process to discover your ancestors. If you are trying to break down a brick wall, those hard cases, you need a structured approach.
How to make a research plan
The research plan has these parts: The person you’re searching for, what you want to know about them, what you already know and the steps to take.
What’s the one thing that you want to solve? Is it to locate a person who emigrated from Sweden in the 1880s? Focus on that and forget everything else for now.
What do you already know about the person you are researching? It might be more than you first realize. Take your time and list everything that people have told you. What do you know about their family members? What are some stories you have heard about them? For this step you can use our freebie Four steps to remember a Swedish ancestor.
Now you know what the problem is. The next step is to analyze it. Go through all the details and see how they match up. Are there any special circumstances to account for? Make your plan from there. What resources will you use? Will you read old newspapers or contact an organisation? Write it down. That’s your research plan.
Another advantage of planning
Sometimes there’s not enough room in our lives for genealogy. We all have things to do. The good thing is that when you start with a research plan, you won’t have to start over.
If you take a break for a week or five years, you can still come back to your research. You will always know the next step, even if you’re at a brick wall.
Find a Swede Guides
We’ve just released the Find a Swede Guides, a bundle of helpful tools for your Swedish genealogical research. The same guides that are included in the Find a Swede 8 week program.
The Find a Swede Guides include a template for a research plan with tips for the Swedish conditions, a Swedish genealogy glossary, a cheat sheet for Swedish place names, and our favorite Swedish genealogy resources. Check it out here.
As a bonus, you get access to a private group where you can ask questions every week. See you there!