But hopefully this list will help you in a different way, because there is so much out there for you to learn from: books, podcasts, blogs, webinars, conferences, etc. And it is really easy to get lost, or at least confused. There also is pressure to "do it right" either from others or self-imposed.
At some time in my genealogy learning experience I have dealt with all of these. So lets get started:
- Do not try to learn "above your head" - I watched a webinar the other day from a well known genealogist about what should have been a reasonably easy subject to present. In a word - the webinar "sucked." The audience was a mix of mostly beginners and some intermediates. It was presented as if the audience had some fairly significant prior knowledge. The presentation was quite confusing - at least to me. I am no professional expert but have been around for over 12 years and can tell a good education piece from a lousy one. So don't try to learn something that you aren't ready for or that is confusing the heck out of you. Turn it off or stop reading and go back to basics.
- Do not be intimidated by those who seem to be smarter than you - not many are smarter than you; they just have more experience and every single one of them started with no knowledge at all - just like you. And since many experts in any field are lousy presenters, it may appear that they are "smarter". A good presenter or writer will care more about the audience than they will about their own ego and will write and speak in a way that is understandable - to you. So gravitate to the educational materials that help you learn - and not confuse you. And find presenters and writers that you truly feel that you can learn from. Ignore the rest at first.
- Do not be intimidated by the "cite your source rules" - writing down where you found stuff is very important, for no other reason than you will want to know where you found it when you are analyzing the information later. There are guidelines that have been written that are excellent, but may seem a bit intimidating. Try your best to follow them and give yourself time to apply them. You will get it eventually. Be patient with yourself.
- Do not be afraid of the so called "genealogy police" - most of the folks in the genealogy community are extremely nice and helpful, but you might run into the rare researcher who likes to show off. These are experienced folks who believe in some cases that there is only one way to do things - "their way." And they love to tell you what the "right way" is, sometimes intimating that you are doing it the "wrong way." Just do your best - and remember even though you may not write locations down properly, or you have an unfinished tree with unfinished sources, remember that you are learning and cut yourself some slack. As long as you keep track of what you don't know and want/need to know and strive to learn - you will do fine.
- Don't just focus on dates - Yes, birth, marriage and death date information is important to make sure you have the correct people in your family tree. But also focus on their life stories by searching newspapers for interesting articles and anecdotes about their lives. And spend some time with photograph identification with your known relatives and those new "cousins" that you find via your research.
- Don't let anyone or any challenge diminish your enthusiasm; and don't lose your curiosity
- Do have fun - for 99% of the people in the world who are searching for their ancestors and their stories - it is a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. Remember that.