Get started on genealogy projects now to be ready for the holidays

040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)
040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays approaching, here are some projects that genealogists can start on now to have them ready in time to share with family.

If you have not done DNA testing, now is a good time to do it. The Y-DNA test, 37 markers, at FamilyTreeDNA.com is a good one. It helps identify the Y-chromosome, or male chromosome, which stays intact over centuries. Results can take a while, so order now, take the test, and you may have results by year’s end.

Or you can order tests to give out during the holidays. The tests most useful to most genealogists would be the autosomal tests offered by most DNA companies.

Another thing genealogists can do for relatives is to write or dictate a family story that you remember and perhaps share copies during the holidays or before. Others may have their own version or additional information. It could be just simple memories of departed ancestors, how they met, or what stories they may have told you.

You also could start searching for some genealogy books to buy, or genealogy magazines to subscribe to, for family member interested in such research or for someone whom you want to catch the bug. Maybe you could make copies of some family items, like historic photographs, to give as gifts during the holidays. Starting now can make some of these goals possible.

Books vs. Original sources

There are some great genealogy books at libraries, archives and digitized online. Always study a book. If it’s a book of abstracts of wills, you need to always go online and check the originals. Most abstractors did not copy all the details. The title and scope of a book is important, as often we are lured into thinking it covers all the wills. Maybe the author failed to title it Volume 2. Before relying on it totally, be sure you study the scope.

Passing down family names

Are any of your relatives named after an ancestor? Some families pass down names. Others don’t. Among my cousins, it was more common that children were named for medical doctors who treated our ancestors. Discussing the source of family names could be another holiday topic or a good topic for research.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.