Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Do you find yourself stuck in a rut when it comes to your family history? You know what you need, but are afraid to move forward. Maybe you think you have exhausted all the free genealogical websites, however I find that hard to believe since there are so many of them. Maybe the record you seek is not online and you must venture outside your home to find what you need. Now unless you are one of those people who are afraid to leave their home because they have a phobia of society, you have no real valid excuse not to head out the door to the nearest library, archive, graveyard or museum. Don’t let fear keep you from finding the information you need to add to the family tree.

I myself faced my fear of driving on my own to Ottawa for a genealogy rendezvous with the Library and Archives of Canada, the Family History Center and the City of Ottawa Archives. If I had not jumped in the car and headed east, I would never have found the many useful pieces of information for my family history that now don my file folders. Recently I conquered my fear, well fear is too strong a word to describe how I felt, nonetheless, conquered my reservations about driving in the northern part of Toronto. The most important thing I did to prepare myself to drive there was to have my husband drive the route I needed to take so I could see for myself where I had to go. Keeping track of landmarks along the way helped me the next day when I had to venture out on my own.

I made the round trip to Whitby and back to Markham no worst for wear. The key was preparing for the challenge I put before myself. The same is true in genealogy, if you do your prep work before hand, the actual venture out will seem oh so less terrify. If you plan to visit the Library and Archives of Canada, you should be prepared. The same is true for any repository you need to do research in. Understanding the basic things like where to park, what can and cannot be brought into the facility, their hours of operation, who can help you to navigate once you enter the building and so forth is very important to the genealogical research process.

Will you be prepared to ask intelligent questions and know what you want or are you going to go by the seat of your pants; not something I recommend. Those who go by the seat or their pants usually end up wasting the facilitator’s time as well as their own and go home empty handed. I prefer to plan ahead and it has paid off tenfold with information flowing into my hands like water in a sink with a good bar of soap. A nice lather always leaves me happy, especially when the perfume of the soap lingers on my hands; so does the satisfaction of finding what I need to build the family history path that can go back several generations. Thus, I encourage all of you to step outside your comfort zone, beyond the box of familiarity, and dig into the records you have always wanted to, but were too intimidated to follow up. Once you take the first steps beyond, who knows where your next move will be.

Happy Hunting !!


Tammy Tipler-Priolo BASc, PLCGS
The Ancestor Investigator is also the Ancestor Whisperer!