Linda Clyde, Miryelle Resek, Lizz Miller | Mar 27, 2017

6 Genealogy Tips You May Have Missed From RootsTech 2017

RootsTech 2017 was a massive success! More than 200 classes were taught on DNA research, organizing your notes, using census records, and more. While many of the classes were streamed live and are now available for viewing on our website, we realize there may have been some classes you missed—and perhaps you’re worried that you missed important information. Don’t stress! We’ve compiled a list of six tips gathered from various classes during RootsTech:

Using the best storytelling tools and apps

Lisa Alzo gave a class examining numerous storytelling apps and tools that are available to genealogists. She gave advice to help you know which tool or app will best suit your needs.

Tip 1: Decide what tools work best for you.

While there are many interesting apps and tools to help you tell and record your own family stories, Alzo says it’s best to find the ones that work best for you. It’s important to consider these factors:

  • Cost. Do you want something that is free? Are you willing to pay for premium services?
  • Sharing. Do you want to share your history with your family? Do you want to work on multiple devices? Do you have anything stored in the cloud?
  • The Wow Factor. Does the tool wow you and your family? Will it excite you with the way it presents your photos, stories, audio clips, and more?
  • Success. Can you be successful using the tool or app?

Tip 2: Try before you buy.

Alzo advises to “always try before you buy” and to test many different tools and apps until you find the right one for you. She also offered her own list of useful tools. These include:

Using the Freedmen’s Bureau records on FamilySearch

For many researchers with African American ancestry, the Freedmen’s Bureau records are a great starting point to find that link to the first generation of former slaves. In his RootsTech presentation, Ken Nelson discussed these records and how to use them in your research.

Tip 3: Start with what you know.

There are thirty Freedmen’s Bureau collections currently on FamilySearch. These records are a major source of genealogical information about post–Civil War African Americans. To begin your search, it is helpful to know a name or other identifying information such as age, residence, or former owner.

“It’s an exciting collection; you never know what you’re going to find in here,” said Nelson.

Tip 4: Check field office records.

Local field offices can be a treasure trove of information. When searching FamilySearch Freedmen’s Bureau records, Nelson recommends looking for a location and then checking field office records for additional information.

Making genealogy a part of daily life

Many people are anxious to engage in family history activities but feel there isn’t enough time in the day. In her RootsTech presentation, Allison Kimball suggested a few ideas to incorporate genealogy into your daily routine.

Tip 5: Record family history in a way that works for you.

Have you ever stopped to consider that you may already be doing genealogy through your everyday activities? Kimball explained that any time we document a family story, we’re doing family history.

“Every time we upload photos, update our status, or comment on a photo, we’re helping our posterity learn a little about who we are,” she said.

Tip 6: Bring family history into your home by talking about it.

Traditions can be a way of preserving family history—and tangible things like food connect us to the past as we gather around the kitchen to relive the memories of our family members. Take time each day to share with your kids the meaning behind a family recipe or a family tradition.

“Family history starts with a conversation, a story,” said Kimball.

Watch the highlights of RootsTech 2017 here.

Linda Clyde, Miryelle Resek, Lizz Miller

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