It is very kind of you to recognize many of us just want to share what we have learned – sometimes the hard way.
When I first noticed Genforum around 1997, I ‘lurked’ for about six months. ‘Lurking’ meaning just reading other’s posts.
The best tip is to educate yourself. Genealogy is a process and you cannot learn everything at once. Take a course, read a ‘how to” book, volunteer at a genealogical society …
Also have a system of recording your research. There are genealogy computer programs but you can just use paper forms downloaded from the LDS (Later Day Saints - Family History Center) site for free.
Do not trust anything without a primary source. A primary source is a document which was created around the time of the event: birth, baptism, marriage, death, Will, deed, court case and census. Censuses should be used ‘in mass’ as sometimes neighbors gave the information. This means LDS Ancestry file is NOT reliable and neither is anything given to you without proper documentation.
Start with yourself and go backwards, each generation at a time. Try and ‘flesh out’ your ancestors. Use photos, maps, etc. Google can be very helpful. Do not think that having 3,000 names in your Gedcom is a goal. Having 20-50 people proven a quite a feat and much more correct than vacuuming up garbage on the web.
Genealogy is NOT fair. It depends on where your ancestors were from and what records existed in that area. There is a saying, “You do your easy lines first, because that is all you can do.”
Enjoy the process – it is a fun hobby.
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