Summer Sleuthing

Happy first day of summer! If you’re looking for some genealogy research tasks that will get you away from your computer or the microfilm reader, here’s six ways to enjoy some summer fun and work on your family history too!

1. Enjoy family time. Summer is the time for vacations and family reunions! Use these opportunities to connect with family members. Bring along old photographs to get everyone talking. And, don’t forget your voice recorder or camcorder to capture stories and recollections. If you’re really organized you can bring along your ancestral (pedigree) charts to display.

2. Cemetery Diving. If your summer vacation or family reunion happens to bring you back to the place where your ancestors lived and may be buried, schedule some time to walk through the cemetery. Record names from tombstones and take photographs. If you can plan your visit when the office is open or you can talk with the caretaker even better.

3. Take a Walking Tour. Many towns and cities have neighborhood walking tours. This is a great way to learn about the history of a place and get some exercise. Check with the local historical society or search the Web by town name and the term “walking tour” or “neighborhood tour.”

4. Take your favorite historical novel or a new genealogy how-to book with you to the park or beach and catch up on your reading!

5. Do a random act of genealogical kindness. Volunteer at your local genealogical or historical society’s summer meetings or events. Take photographs of gravestones and post them to the USGenWeb site. Add your name to the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness volunteer list.

6. If you just can’t break away from your computer, buy or rent a notebook/laptop and find an outdoor spot with wireless internet access, grab a cool beverage and visit some online genealogical web sites you haven’t searched in awhile. Make sure you have a secure connection before you search subscription sites where you type in your username and password. If you don’t, stick to free sites such as Cyndi’s List, RootsWeb, or Linkpendium.

I will blog some more “Summer Sleuthing” tips at another time.