For those of you who have read “First Things First” by Stephen Covey, you will recognize the phrase ‘sharpening the saw’. No, it doesn’t refer to sharpening a farm tool. <smile> However just like trying to cut wood with a dull saw would be ineffective, we do our best work when we take time to sharpen our minds by refreshing, recharging and learning new things.
One of the best things about doing family history research is that you are continually learning new things about your ancestors, about history and about yourself. Let’s look at ways to continue to learn and grow in our genealogy and our family research.
While there are many activities that compete for our time. Each day we can grow by learning something new in as little as 15 minutes. The challenge is carving out that time to improve our research skills as we craft our family history story. Here are some ideas for you to pursue:
Pick a Topic
Pick a topic such as DNA, land records, or local history.
Or pick a topic that isn’t related to genealogy at all…learning something new enriches all aspects of your life.
There are many YouTube videos, formal courses, free courses and subscription learning sites for you to explore. For example, I’m taking a free online course on the Book of Kells from Trinity College in Dublin Ireland. Not only will I learn about calligraphy and art of the Book of Kells, I’ll learn more about Irish history and the land of my ancestors.
Books and Magazines
If you’re like me, you probably have a stack of magazines and books that you’re going to read someday. If you set aside time each day or once a week, you could start whittling down that pile.
Try to attend a local or national genealogy conference each year. You will learn from your fellow attendees and the valuable sessions presented.
This is a bigger commitment of time and money but if you have the opportunity to do a research trip or take a family vacation to the land of your ancestors, do it! You will learn more about your ancestors by walking in their steps.
Set aside some time to study a new topic, delve into one that you’ve always wanted to learn or learn more about something that interests you.
Pause in your busy life of family, work, research and writing and learn something new. You’ll improve your mind and come back refreshed to work on your family story.
“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.