We asked Niels Martensen, an avid GenoPro user, to give us some genealogy tips gathered from his personal experience. Heres what he shared with us:
1. Input data yourself without using Gedcom files
Niels has quite a task at hand: with relatives across the continents, he relies on research others are doing in Germany, and information he gathers directly in Japan, in the USA and on the Web. He sees himself as someone who puts together a puzzle, rather than being a researcher. He prefers to enter data himself, as opposed to importing Gedcom files, because he gets a better understanding of where people belong on the tree. And, if a name comes up more than once, he gets the opportunity to connect it somewhere else again.
To make it easier to ask questions to family members regarding misplaced individuals, use print-outs of the family tree created with GenoPro.
2. Quality comes first, quantity is last
Once, Niels received interesting data from the USA that included people with the family names he was looking for, but unfortunately, they were not part of his family, even though someone else had thought so. He ended up deleting the individuals from his family file because the information was not relevant.
3. Get your children involved in family history early in life
Niels wishes that he had more first hand information from his time in Germany. He wishes his parents would have told him more about his family, or introduced him to other members of the extended family when he was a child. This way, he would have developped an interest in family history earlier in life, and not have missed out on information that could have easily been accessed at that time.
4. Use your GenoPro print-outs when asking for information
In Niels experience, people are willing to share information when he approaches them, and they are happy to know that somebody takes care of something they would have liked to do themselves. Its like one hand washes the other hand. In Nielss family tree, he has many ancestors with the same name who come from the same area, but it is difficult to say who belongs to whom. To make it easier to ask questions to his family members regarding the misplaced individuals, he uses print-outs of the family tree he created with GenoPro. He says the biggest advantage of using GenoPro is that you can have ancestors and descendants on one piece of paper. If you take a look at one of his charts, you can see that some individuals have the same name and are displayed in the same color, but Niels is not sure if they are related. Collecting long-lost memories about these individuals is not an easy task. Niels is more likely to get answers from family members by showing this chart to them, than by simply asking about specific names. Family members may recognize a family pattern, such as a family with ten children or a family with twins, or a person they only knew by their first name, etc. Do you know if these people are related?