52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Foundation

Here we are in 2022, beginning anew with 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. I have to admit I had a difficult time last year posting every week. Sometimes life got in the way, particularly around the holidays. And sometimes, no matter how I tried, the theme didn’t work for me. Also, my children gave me Storyworth for my birthday. I love the concept, and at the end of the year, I and my children will receive a nice book of my weekly writings. It was a challenge for me to write two meaningful stories every week. I did the best I could do.

This week’s theme is Foundation. I thought at first I would write about my mother-in-law, Betty Ferguson. Betty wore a girdle many days of her life, especially when she expected company or went out. She didn’t need one, but wearing one must have made her feel better. At the end of her life, she had macular degeneration and Alzheimers. She couldn’t live by herself anymore which resulted in her living in a wonderful home for women with blindness. However, it pained her enormously when she had to give up her girdle.

What I settled on is writing about how one needs a good foundation of skill and knowledge in order to perform meaningful genealogical work. Up until my early sixties, I hadn’t shown much interest in genealogy. I don’t know what possessed me but I began my genealogical journey with little knowledge about my mother or father’s family beyond my grandparents. 

The first thing I did was settle on a database worthy of genealogy. I chose Legacy Family Tree software. There are other fine programs out there, however, this one works for me. The next step was to start looking for records. I had a good basis of knowledge on how to research from my early years, but I wasn’t sure how that would apply to genealogy. Fortunately, I found many webinars online. Some helped me with my jitters when I first went to a courthouse to look for records. Others helped with land records and other topics. How lucky are we that there are so many knowledgeable people in this world who are willing to share their expertise with us? I also purchased many books that helped with specific topics. I have always documented my sources and am working to improve on them.

I knew I wanted to write a blog for my family history. In preparation, I signed up for several genealogical blogs that chose what they considered the best blog postings of the week. These blogs helped me to figure out the best way to feature my family. There are so many talented writers in the genealogical world. I was intimidated by these great writers at first, but I forged ahead realizing my children wouldn’t judge me and hoping someday my ancestors would find my stories and perhaps improve on them.

I think in order to provide good information and stories for your family you need a good foundation to build upon. These are the things I think you need as a foundation:

  • A good database for your information
  • The love of sleuthing
  • The willingness to capture the source of the information so one can find it in the future
  • The ability to evaluate the information you find
  • Honesty when building your tree by using information that you vet and prove that belongs to your ancestor
  • Time and energy to continually educate yourself on good genealogical practices
  • The discipline to focus on the subject of your research. I am failing in this category. It’s so easy to go down that “rabbit hole” looking for information.
  • The emotional ability to not get discouraged when facing a brick wall.

I am sure there are other attributes that provide a good foundation for a genealogist. Much is out there for us to find. Let’s forge ahead no matter what 2022 throws at us and have a good time while doing it.

Thank you Amy Johnson Crow for providing us with weekly themes that challenge us to write about our families. Writing weekly is not always easy, but definitely worth the time and energy.