First, and foremost, you can take advantage of the three exciting workshops planned during October at the Tennessee Genealogical Society (TNGS) Center, located at 7779 Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN 38138.
- Saturday, October 8, 2016. TNGS will have its Quarterly Business Meeting at 10:00 a.m. After the brief meeting, author and librarian, Linda Reaves, will present and discuss her book Threads to Which I Belong.
- Saturday, October 16, 2016. TNGS Vice President, John Ware, will give an in-depth presentation on using Census Records.
- Saturday, October 22, 2016. TNGS Technical Advisors, Debbie Atchley and PZ Horton, will lead the popular, monthly Let’s Discuss It workshop that concentrates on the use of technology and various websites in genealogical research.
In addition to attending at least one or all of these events, you can also make use of the TNGS website for your research by visiting and studying each of the links located on the left-hand side of the main TNGS website (http://www.tngs.org ). Following those links will lead you to all of the technology websites given at every Let’s Discuss It meeting since they began in 2009. You can also discover the various social media sites where TNGS is represented and even uncover the special offerings in the Members Only link –if you are a member. There are so many opportunities for you as you search the TNGS website, attend the workshops, and make full use of your membership.
You may notice as you search the website that TNGS and the Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center (GRHGC) are both run and maintained completely by volunteers. This is another thing that you might consider – volunteering whenever you can! Volunteers are constantly needed as helpers in the library. And you can always help out at workshops and seminars, and “manning” the booths that TNGS regularly has at various festivals and fairs. You can even assist with binding the books that the Society sells, as well as packaging them and getting them in the mail. Naturally, there is often help needed with research that is regularly requested. If you have a bit of spare time, even if it’s only once a month or so, contact the Society and let them know how you’d like to help. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are so many other ways to “celebrate” Family History Month. Here are just a few ideas that you can begin or try to finish this month:
- Start planning a family reunion. If your family is an extended one that includes members who live far away, plan it for next October!
- Involve your children (even the grown-up ones) in research projects so that they can also “catch the research bug.” (You may have to get very creative in some cases!)
- Take a trip to a cemetery where your ancestors are buried and take photos of their tombstones or grave markers. Post those on sites like Find-A-Grave (www.findagrave.com), which is just one of many sites that are available to share those photos.
- Make sure that your family history software program is up-to-date and always remember to back up your work on the first of every month. If you don’t have a software program, this would be a good time to compare programs and purchase the one that best fits your needs.
- Plan a visit to a local or state archive. Be sure to have a good idea of what you want to research before you go. It’s also best to contact the archive ahead of time to ensure yourself of the times they are open and also to find out what rules they have as to what you can take into the archives itself.
- Organize your research, whether it’s the digital work or the paperwork. Take a little time during the month to make sure that you have everything in order. (Those piles of paper on the floor or on various tables need to go!)
- Sort out your photos and either digitize them or make sure that they are secure in acid-free protective sleeves or boxes.
- Consider joining a society (in addition to TNGS) from one or more of the states where your ancestors lived. Many state societies have numerous special research links that you might not have access to if you’re not a member. Some also offer special webinars.
- View a genealogy webinar or find some of the many “how to” videos that appear on YouTube or on some of the ancestry sites, like FamilySearch.org. If you’re a member of Ancestry, be sure to check out their video library.
- Consider joining a lineage society, or if you’re already a member of one (or more) begin plans for a supplemental line.
- Think about sharing your research by starting a blog, beginning a family history book, or creating an online family tree. Scrapbooking is another way of sharing.
- Sign up for various genealogical newsletters. You may already receive a few, but there are so many specialized ones out there. Do a Google search to find the ones that might interest you.
- Use social media to find groups that focus on your surname or a state that you’re researching. Facebook is a treasure trove for researchers!
- Plan a research visit to the GRHGC. Remember that besides having a multitude of genealogy and family history books, the library also offers free access to Ancestry, Heritage Quest, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (where you can access files that are generally only available to members), and other special online sites.
- Order a DNA kit and find out who you really are!
As you can see, the list of ways to “celebrate” this month is long. Let us know some other ideas you might have, and also update us if and when you and your family accomplish any of these ideas designed to make this month special.
Most important of all – have fun!
Carla Love Maitland