Folks, I’m here to tell you that if you’re interested in giving your family genealogy-themed gifts in December 2017, it’s time to start your holiday shopping. Do you want to give your parents glorious copies of their family trees? Create a book? Share with relatives maps with the locations of their ancestors’ homelands? Then start making purchasing plans now.
“But the season is still nine months away!” I know, but good—and accurate—family history research takes time.
Each November, Raincross Information Services receives several requests for research with the clients’ intent to present said findings to families at holiday gatherings.
Each November, I have to reluctantly decline all these requests. Why? Because family history research has its own timeline and can’t be guaranteed in 2-4 weeks.
It’s not all online.
Genealogy has hit a boom, and the many television commercials we see make it appear that certain websites have all the records and thus all the answers. That’s not the case. These websites are helpful tools but they don’t hold all historical records in their collections. Often the records I need to help build your family tree are offline, sitting in books on shelves in small county courthouses. It takes time to locate the records, make requests for them or the microfilms that have what is needed.
No two genealogy issues are the same.
Just as each individual is unique, so is each family tree. No two genealogical research situations are the same. This is why it is impossible to guarantee your November request for a full family tree will be met in a few short weeks.
Accuracy takes time.
It’s very tempting to pull all your family history information from someone else’s online family tree but don’t do it. What if it is wrong? Do you want your own family history to be incorrect? Or your fancy wall charts to contain people who aren’t even your ancestors?
Genealogical questions are answered with records. It takes time to get those records. Sometimes those records bring more questions, which leads to requesting and waiting for more records.
If you want to do our own genealogy research or have someone do it for you, I suggest you start now. If you want to try your hand at it, but get stuck, as me for help. I’m happy to point you in the right direction. Whatever your choice, have patience and allow plenty of time.
Family history is the best present you can give. It connects loved ones and brings senses of purpose and understanding. I hope you’ll consider giving the gift of genealogy this year. Besides, giving family history as a present now means you don’t have to deal with unruly crowds and malls after Thanksgiving.
Amy Lenertz, MLIS is the founder of Raincross Information Services.