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Catching up on genealogy work during COVID-19 | Tracing Your Roots

NJ.com logo NJ.com 4/4/2020 By Daniel Klein, nj.com
a screenshot of a cell phone: With all facilities closed as a precaution against the COVID-19 virus, the Jersey City Free Public Library has added a great many new items to its Digital Services, including online video story hours, e-books, videos, periodicals, homework help and job and career services. © Daniel Klein / The Jersey Journal/nj.com/TNS With all facilities closed as a precaution against the COVID-19 virus, the Jersey City Free Public Library has added a great many new items to its Digital Services, including online video story hours, e-books, videos, periodicals, homework help and job and career services.

No doubt, we’re all feeling the pressure of being cooped up at home due to precautions against COVID-19. I’ve only been able to make trips to the grocery store for the past two weeks. And it’s not like I’m just laying around either. I’m working from home, spending hours in front of a laptop. I actually had to stop for a bit this morning because screen glare was bothering my eyes.

Recently, Doreen Bloomer, president of the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society, posted the following suggestions for catching up on genealogy research on the Society’s Facebook group:

1. Organize your files

2. Search for your elusive ancestor

3. Share info with relatives

4. Scan photos, old letters, documents

5. Join a new genealogy group online

6. Catch up on your reading

7. Review your DNA matches and make connections

8. Interview a relative via phone, Facetime or Skype

9. Record your thoughts and experiences about the world today for future generations

10. Share your favorite tips and websites with others

11. Write down stories so they are not lost

12. Watch free webinars

Here are some of my own suggestions:

1/4 u00b7 Take a look at your local library’s digital offerings. Due to the closings, lockdowns and shelter in place orders, libraries are really upgrading their online access. The Jersey City Free Public Library has really stepped up its Digital Services. New Jersey Room is offering (with a valid library card) access to the Jersey Journal Archives (1867-present) and HeritageQuest Online. Even if you do not have a card, you can apply for one online. Without a library card you can access some Hudson County high school yearbook indexes.

1/4 u00b7 Something else you might want to do is look back over your old notes or in your genealogy software to check that your sources are recorded correctly. Having well documented sources ensures that they can be checked and rechecked by you in case you need to look at your source again or by others who are building on your research. This is something I can’t stress enough.

1/4 u00b7 Start your own genealogy blog. It could have a teaching aspect, showing how you did your research, or it could tell the story of your ancestors with each post. You’ll need to do a little research first to see which platform would be the best for what you want to carry out. See what blogging platforms your favorite blogs are using. Then sit down and write. Write like there’s no tomorrow.

If you’d rather talk than write, start a podcast! 1/4 u00b7 Speaking of podcasts, check a few of those out too! The Genealogy Guys, Extreme Genes (where I was once interviewed), Genealogy Gems...there are several that are worth listening to while you’re driving to the supermarket, cooking, or just relaxing on the couch.

Danny Klein is a librarian at the Jersey City Free Public Library’s New Jersey Room and a founding member of the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society. He can be reached at hudsongenealogy@gmail.com or @HudsonGenealogy on Twitter.

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