107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Starting Over With Your Genealogy

By Amber Lowery

Have you ever been ready to just take all of your genealogy research and toss it out? Just stuff it all in the garbage and walk away from it? Wipe your hands clean of the binders, folders, and piles of dusty old books? 

I was in that state last year, until I read a great blog that came out last year called Genealogy Do-Over. The blog, written by the incredible Thomas MacEntee, suggested doing just that. With winter setting in, this is the perfect time to start on this project and plan for a less overwhelming, more organized approach to genealogy research in 2018.

The first thing MacEntee proposed is we take all of our previous research and set it to the side. Then we prepare to research like it is our first time, but keeping the skills and knowledge that we have accumulated over the years. As we get deeper into genealogy, our research methods are honed and sharpened. We learn to look for the details buried in obituaries, family histories, news clippings, and vital records. 

For example, did you know that Peoria had a number of different newspapers, but they did not necessarily report all the same information? Perhaps you have an obituary for Great-Grandfather Edwin from the Peoria Journal, but did you check the Peoria Evening Star to see if perhaps that copy mentioned his mother’s maiden name? No? Well, then, off you go to Peoria Public Library Main Library to look at the microfilm and see if any new information is waiting to be discovered.

Maybe you have a bit of genealogical information on an ancestor in an old photocopy but you cannot remember where you got it from. Bring it with you on one of your planned research days and ask one of the staff in the Local History department if they recognize the source.

Rediscover your passion for the hobby by going back to the beginning with fresh eyes. Perhaps the breadcrumb you seek is already among your research, waiting to be found. If it is not, make a trip to the Peoria Public Library to explore our resources and talk to staff about avenues you may be missing in your research.

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