Since I was not prepared for a new post, I will give you some tips that I have learned along the way of my journey.
Tip # 1 Find a Way to Keep Yourself on track
I have learned to keep a 9 generation fan chart on each family tree that I am working on. Why? This allows me to see where I have holes in my research and where I need to concentrate my research. This keeps me from losing my way and gathering info on the "husband of my 1st cousin 3x removed". Which, if that is what you want, that's ok. But, another lesson learned a long time ago is that it is best to concentrate on just your direct line. Trust me, I made that mistake earlier in my research, and OMG, it was more than never ending. I was so excited that I was finding information on my ancestors that I did not realize that I was not finding anything on my direct line. Someone once said "when I am finished with my direct line, then I will go back and fill in my branches". Good luck with that one, cause I don't ever see an end to my direct line. I hope that when I am gone that 1 of my 3 boys will continue this journey. I want them to know who and where they came from.
Tip # 2 Keep Photos/Images Organized
Keep all of your photos/images organized! It makes it so much easier to access when you know where a photo/image is. I have a CD for each surname that I am searching. When I am working on a certain family, I keep that CD in my laptop, so if/when I come across a photo/image I can download it to the CD with that family name on it. (See tip # 3) Within each CD I keep a folder for each individual person, and if necessary I will add a folder to that folder for other ancestors from that branch. example: I have a CD name Medlock. Within that CD I have folders with the names of each Medlock family: Leotra Medlock (my grandmother), Charles Woodson Medlock (my great grandfather), Eli Wren Medlock (my 2nd great grandfather), and John Williams Medlock (my 3rd great grandfather). In Leotra's folder I have a folder titled Butler (for Leotra's 1st husband Thomas Butler). In Charles Medlock folder, I will have a folder for McGee (Willie McGee, my great grandmother). In the Eli Medlock folder I will have a folder for Edmonson/Edmondson ( Martha P Edmonson, my 2nd great grandmother). And so on.
It's not a hard system to keep up with, and I don't have to just aimlessly dig around looking for one thing and having to go through 1000's of other things to find what I am looking for.
Tip # 3 Permission, Copyrighted Material and Plagiarism
Please, before you download a photo/image from another website, make sure to contact the owner of that website and ask for permission to use what you want. Do not copy text, photo's, or other images without permission!! Websites and blogs are copyrighted material. When you just take something from a website without permission, that is stealing. Respect others work and DO NOT DO IT!!!
Everyone works hard on their website/blogs. I know I do. And I do not want someone just taking what they want and using it. I use my own personal pics on my blog and place a watermark on them. This way no one can just use my pics without my permission. (Or that is how it is suppose to work. Hopefully, my work will be respected as well.) No plagiarism!
(as From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as one's own original work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism
Tip # 4 Verify - Citations and Sources
It is so easy to get involved with research and finding information about your ancestors that we sometimes forget to verify what we find. And don't forget to use citations and sources. I have a method that I use when I start researching someone. I am a member of several genealogy websites. And I have come across (too many times to count) mistakes in information on those websites. Once I have a name, I will go to Find-A-Grave and search for that person. A headstone is a good validation that a person lived and died. If there is other information on that memorial, then I go through other steps to verify it. It seems that too many people are happy enough to find information on their ancestors to just take someone's word for it. I don't and won't. Make sure to use your sources. Where did you find the information? How valid is the information?
Tip # 5 Backup, Backup and Backup
Always backup your information. (Another lesson learned - the hard way I might add.) I use a USB stick to backup my family trees. I have set up a schedule in my daily planner to backup everything once a month. If you are doing research everyday and a lot of it, then I would suggest doing a backup more than once a month. I have a program on my laptop and I use a couple sites on-line. I sync my family tree once a month and back it up as well. Think about all the research and hard work that you have done, now think what would happen if you should lose that? Would you be able to sit down and re-enter all that data from memory? I don't think so. (Not unless it was only for 1 person - maybe.) Don't let your hard work go to waste, back it up!