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Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned
Summer 2000 and Revised: 18 Apr 2000

I found the following list of lessons learned about genealogy research while surfing the Internet. The author is unknown.

  • My living relatives are not less important than those deceased.

  • People who work in libraries and government offices are just like me: Happy, sad, perky, moody, knowledgeable and ignorant. If my respect doesn't help, at least my politeness should never fail.

  • If I don't know something, I need to ask. If no one I've asked knows the answer, I need to find someone who does.

  • There's always someplace else to look for information about my family, even when I think I've covered them all.

  • Everyone left a record somewhere. I need to make sure that includes me.

  • Not finding what I'm looking for isn't failure. Quitting is.

  • Whether small or large, old or new, neat or untidy, every cemetery is hallowed ground and a treasure of family history.

  • Most of my ancestors didn't have clothes like mine, or have a job like mine, or food like mine, or a lifestyle like mine. If I want to understand them, I need to understand how they lived. On their terms.

  • Not all of my ancestors spoke English. If I'm going to find out what the rest of them were like, I need to learn at least some of their language.

  • I have talents I didn't know I had before I tried.

  • If I'm ever going to develop the skills I need, I will have to practice using them.

  • The people who help me with my family history don't just do it because they want something in return. They do it because they care. And that's why I help others.

  • No matter how bad some of my ancestors were, or how hard their lives were, without them I'd not be here.

  • If my family hadn't lived where they lived, done what they did, and raised the children they raised, I would not be who I am today.

  • I am not alone.

Come to think of it, many of those lessons apply to life generally.

If you have any thoughts about lessons learned, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com.

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