Get Out of Your Experience Bubble

If your ancestral background is pretty homogeneous, like mine is, it can be easy to get in a research zone and think all research is like yours. When I first began working on my children’s ancestry years ago (and now that of my sons-in-law), the first challenge I had was working with urban individuals and immigrants from countries with which I was not familiar.

But that stretched my research skills.

Who knew cemeteries had phone numbers you could call? And city directories published virtually year after year? The ability to “search the whole town” for my person of interest was no longer as practical as it was in my rural ancestral areas. I had to learn other skills and develop other techniques.

That helped me when I went back to my rural ancestors or when I worked on the parts of sons-in-law’s trees that were rural.

And if you’ve only done research in New England in the 1700s, Virginia and the rest of the southern United States is a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish.

Researching in new areas and time periods stretches your skills and will help you when you get back to the people you started researching in the first place.