Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Those of you who visit regularly and subscribe to this blog may have begun to see a pattern in my posts as editor.  There is a lot of stuff out there in the genealogy blogosphere to tap into. Family history research can be a very solitary pursuit. When I started my own journey, it was one of the aspects of the process I enjoyed most - time alone with my computer and my notebook, my photos and documents, searching out the facts and piecing together my story. I did that, all by myself, for about a year. It actually never occurred to me to hook up with anyone else, join a group, read a blog, or even use my Google search engine to look for resources to help me find stuff that would help me find stuff.  You know what I mean?

Then I "met" a sixth cousin through with whom I share an ancestor - his third cousin, three times removed, is my great-grandfather.  My cousin also has a tree on, and had done extensive research on that part of my (our) family tree.  Being able to tap that resource saved me months and months of research.  In addition, my cousin is a stickler for double checking everything, so I had found a gold mine of riches for my family tree along with all the corroborating sources, ensuring the data was accurate.  I started to think that collaboration might not be such a bad thing.  Maybe it was time to to take the "Keep Out" sign off my studio door and venture out into the world.

Everything changed.

I discovered bloggers, webinars, seminars, podcasts, new writing software (and webinars to teach me how to use it productively), research and citation engines, and social media sites, just to name of few of my "Aha" moments.  I came out of my cave and discovered I was not alone.  Indeed, there was a whole new world out there.  And much of it has proved invaluable to me over the last few years.  I have recently been thinking about taking a trip to Germany to do some "on the ground" digging.  The organization for such a trip seemed a bit daunting, even with my German language skills still somewhat in tact.  Then one of my favorite bloggers posted about a Q&A session on researching your German roots.  The Q&A session was sponsored by a company called Family Tree Tours whose specialty, believe it or not, is German genealogy tours.  Go figure.  Who knew?

It is this experience that I bring to my posts as D.I.R.T. blog editor.  Digging into your roots is not just about your shovel and your tree. You are not the first person to "dig" in that particular spot.  Yours is not the first brick wall encountered nor are you the first to slam into it at full speed.  There is a very good chance someone, somewhere, has been there and done that and better still, can help you overcome your research challenges.  And the best part of all, you get to meet new people who share your passion, develop a network of resources, do some traveling, learn new stuff, and have some fun along the way.

You don't have to dig alone!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

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