Genealogy Tips: Asking for Help
In this article, Gena Philibert-Ortega provides tips for when you need help with your genealogy research.
We all need help with our genealogy research for a variety of reasons, including researching a new-to-you location, finding a document, using a subscription website, translating a foreign language, or maybe just trying to break down the old brick wall. We will all need help at some point, so the question is: where can you find the help you need?
Need help with a search or your GenealogyBank subscription? Don’t forget that we are only a phone call away. We can help you learn more about using our website and how to search. See our Contact Page for ways to contact us. Don’t forget we also have tutorial videos on our YouTube Channel.
FamilySearch offers help to family history researchers in a number of ways. Your local Family History Center is a free resource that provides access to subscription websites, resources, and assistance. Their volunteers typically have years of experience and are there to help answer questions. FamilySearch also offers help via phone, a chat room, and message system. You can find these options at the Get Help webpage. Lastly, don’t forget that the FamilySearch Family History Research Wiki page is a great place to learn more about a specific location or subject type.
To find your local Family History Center see the FamilySearch website.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites provide options for finding answers to your genealogy questions. The Genealogy on Facebook List includes thousands of links to genealogy and history-related Facebook groups. These groups are a great place to ask questions and learn from the postings of others.
One way I use Twitter is to ask questions that I think other researchers may know the answer to. For example, I may ask about researching at a particular facility or if anyone knows what an archaic term found in a document means. Make sure that you add relevant hashtags to your question so that the right people see it. For example: #genealogy, #familyhistory, #Twitterstorians (historians on Twitter). Hashtags help your tweet get maximum exposure beyond just your followers.
Are you a member of your local genealogy society? That’s a great place to ask for genealogy research help. Most likely there’s someone in your society who is a seasoned pro and can help you navigate where to find a record or what resources are available. In some cases, a society might have special interest groups, also called SIGs, that may provide guidance. SIGs may focus on DNA, ethnic, or locality research.
While a membership in your local genealogy society can be invaluable, so too is a membership in a society where your ancestor lived. Members of that society know their area; they may even have ancestors from that area and are well-acquainted with the available records and repositories. They are the perfect people to ask questions and elicit assistance.
Whom Will You Ask?
Have a genealogy research question? There are a lot of people you can ask. Learn more about your genealogy by asking questions of those in the know. You might just learn about a new resource or a piece of history that impacts your research in a big way.