Most people think that they do not have the time to do research into their family history. People have jobs, kids, car maintenance, mortgages, and a million other things that get in the way, and keep people from getting started with their genealogy. I want to tell you that life doesn’t need to get in the way of you starting your family history.
Byte-Size Your Genealogy
I wanted to bring your attention to the topic of Byte-Size (or Bite-Size) Genealogy. It’s a term I came up with to describe doing little, tiny pieces of genealogical research. Hopefully nobody else has used that term before, I don’t want anybody thinking that I was taking credit for their work. The idea of Byte-Size Genealogy comes from the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant foot? One bite at a time”. The best way to tackle your family tree is a little nibble at a time.
Trying to complete a family history is, quite frankly, an impossible task. You will never finish it. There is too much there and you are just one person. However, if you pick out one task, and then break that down into even smaller tasks, you will be surprised at how quickly that can add up over time. For example, say that self-appointed genealogy task is to process an old family letter; adding the enclosed information into your family tree. That one task can be broken down into it’s components: scan letter, properly archive or store letter, transcribe letter, and copy/paste components of the transcription into the individuals in your tree. Then tackle each component one at a time. If any piece of a task is too big, break it down even further.
Let me give you an example. I use the service Ancestry.com to perform some of my research. I recently located a marriage record for my Great-Great Grandparents, Elyard DeArmitt and Mary Kuhn. When I brought up the record, it looked like this:
I didn’t have time to do everything in one sitting, so I broke it down into segments and processed it over a few days. Keep in mind, that this is how I chose to process it. When performing research, do it in whatever way works best for you. So what I did next was saved the full image of the marriage record.
Then I edited it down into to just the important and relevant information from the record, just the header and the lines showing my ancestors.
Next, I added some reference information to the image so that anybody that reviewed it in the future should easily be able to see what was I had done.
Finally, I processed the information, adding it to my family tree and also printed out a hard copy as a back-up. I had a limited amount of time, so did what I could within the space I had available.
Byte-Sizing your genealogy is just a tool; it’s about breaking a big project down into smaller pieces. You can do your family history; you have the power!