I decided to start a blog about my journey in finding my family roots. My journey begins with a simple gift for my mother in law. For Mother's Day I wanted to do something special and different for her so I decided to start her family tree for her. I have never undertaken such a task so I asked for some help from a seasoned professional, my cousin. My cousin started the tree for me and gave me some ideas on where to look and my passion for genealogy was born.
Currently, I am working on the Merrick line of my family and still searching the McMahon line of my husbands family. The McMahon line has had many challenges due to the fact that they are newer settlers from St. Clare Ireland and everyone in the family is named Patrick McMahon. I have been chasing these hundreds of Patrick's for about 6 months now. It has been quite a challenge but I believe I have made some head way in deciphering them all and hopefully I will be able to update the status on the Patrick McMahon craziness.
On the other hand the Reeder line of my family has been pretty easy to search as they were very prominent citizens in their town of Bucks County PA. I found that one of my relatives Eastburn Reeder was big on polices and techniques that diary farmers use to this day and has written numerous papers on the subject. Also, Merrick Reeder was a justice of the peace of a town called Solebury located in Bucks County PA.
I received this email from one of my seminars today and I thought I would share with you all
Here are 10 most common mistakes people make while doing their family tree:
1. Giving up:
This is the worst mistake a person can make. There are so may sources and people that can help you. Trust me you will find what you are looking for. What I usually do to prevent me from giving up is I put the person away that I am looking into for at least two weeks to a month and then go back to him/her. New things are posted every day.
2. Not paying attention to details:
Always write down every little thing you find even if you think it does not mean anything because you never know what may lead you to your next big lead.
3. Starting with the tree:
Most people believe that when doing their family tree they need to start it out in the tree form. Instead, of that write out the family units that you do have and work from there before plugging things into your tree. ALWAYS START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW!!!
4. Alternative Spellings:
Do not assume your last name has always been spelled like it is today. Remember our family came from a different country and when they came across the ocean a lot of times the last name was spelled the way it sounded instead of spelled. Example of this is McMahon, I have seen it spelled MacMann, McMann, and MacMahon. When running a search us the soundex instead of exact spelling.
5. Forgetting about living relatives
Interview your living relatives. I can not stress that enough. I try to remember stories from when I was little but it is close to impossible at the time I did not care and only came back with a few details. Unfortunately for me my family was not the closest so they do not know much about anyone else and my Grandparents have passed so I have been pretty much on my own with the searching.
6. Tracing too many family members at once
I am so guilty of this. I have about three different lines going at the moment and when I start to feel overwhelemed I step back and say, "OK, I have to just do this family line now and I will write down and save this other information to go back to later."
7. Not staying organized
I use forms, binders, dividers and software to keep all of my records organized. I also keep a paper and digital copy in case something happens to my computer I do not want to lose everything I have worked on. My favorite site for templates is http://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy/family-history-forms.
I love their templates and you can print them out or even type the info straight in from your computer.
8. Doing it alone
Sometimes your family just does not get it or why you are doing it. I was that someone once. But you don't have to do it alone, there are all kinds of genealogical societies and if you get stuck some very good genealogist to help you on your journey. I have found a couple of relatives on the internet who I interact with everyone once in awhile who are searching their family roots and found me.
9. Being too serious
Make it fun...If you are not having fun maybe you should take a break for a minute and regroup.
10. Not using all the resources available to you.
Don't get stuck on one website. Ancestory, Archives, USGenWeb, etc. these do not always have all the answers. Sometimes you have to go to that thing called the "library" remember that place. Also, sometimes there is only so much you can do and you may have to hire a professional.
I am hoping with this blog I can help people who are searching for their family roots and also, maybe some of my distant family can also find me. I will be posting emails and new finds with the McMasters/Moock family. Also, with my husband's family, the Newell/McMahon family line. Please feel free to email me or post comments. Also, if you are looking for some help in an area of genealogy please check out my webpage for details of services I provide. https://sites.google.com/site/linseygenealogyresearch/