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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 45
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

One of our Family Tree readers sent in a great idea to help your older relatives answer genealogical questions - without too much stress.

The reader suggested that you type up all the family questions you would like to have answered, cut those questions into strips so that each piece of paper has just one question...and then place all the strips into a box or jar and give it, along with a bound notebook and pens to the family member you think might be able to answer the questions.

Ask your relative to write the answer to the questions in the notebook over a period of time. This way, it's not such an overwhelming task. When all of the questions are answered, you will have a notebook of family memories, handwritten by a family member.

You might also ask the person to include a photograph of himself or herself. What a treasure for future generations.

Another reader sent in what I think is a marvelous idea for grandparents. Come to think of it, it's also a great idea for aunts and uncles and even brothers and sisters!

Our reader said that he had published a newsletter for his grandchildren - all six of them! They live all over the country and seldom get to meet in person. His newsletter features news of what they all are doing in school and with their hobbies and have articles and stories about the family complete with photographs. Since it is such a small "press run of six" he has family snapshots copied in color for each little paper.

He said that one of the most fun things he does is have a Question of the Day about the family. He asks the grandchildren to answer the question...and then, at Christmas, the child who had the correct answer gets a special gift! (Sometimes, he writes, he has to have six special gifts as all of the children participate in his quiz.)

You might like to know the most common mistakes genealogists make. You need not be embarrassed about making mistakes as most of us have made all of these and have invented a few of our own!
So, here are some ideas about what NOT to do that will save you time and energy.

* You scribble your genealogical data on the backs of envelopes and brown bags (Please use family group sheets and pedigree charts - available here at The Odom Library.)
* You have never found time to contact your living relatives (Oh, my goodness! Your grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and even kissin' kin know things that it will take you years, if ever, to discover!)
* You assume that you and you alone are working on your family! (Somebody, somewhere is working on your family! Write and publish queries in as many places as you can find!)
* You never use maps of the areas your ancestors lived that are of the same time as your ancestors lived there! (Remember, even Colquitt County was once in Thomas County! You simply must know the history of the places your folks lived.)
* You never think about the history of the area in which your folks lived! (They gave away free land in Alabama about 1816. If you have folks that disappeared from other places about then...check Alabama!) Do just a little reading about various areas. It will save you time and much effort.
* You always accept everything you read in books and on the Internet as "gospel." (You must beware of undocumented information. If you only go astray once...everything past that you uncover will be incorrect!)
* You try to copy and retain ALL the information about your surname. Unless you have a very uncommon surname, this will confuse you and fill up your closets.

We'll do just a little more of this next week.

Remember to let me know about family reunions, queries relevant to the Colquitt County area and anything else genealogical or historical you'd like to see here in this column. Write me, PO Box 2693, Moultrie, GA 31776-2693.

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