- Computer skills
- A basic knowledge of their family structure
- A desire to use the computer to do their genealogy
- Access to New.FamilySearch.org
- No computer skills
- No knowledge of their family at all, including the names of parents and/or grandparents
- Little desire or no desire to touch a computer
- No access to New.FamilySearch.org
Most of these people are not at all interested in doing research. The minute I turn on a computer and start to show them how to find their family members, they lose interest and walk out. They are under the impression that we will do all the work for them for free. Occasionally, I will help someone who really wants to learn and is motivated to do some work. In this case, I do start with a paper pedigree chart, just to give the person and me some idea of the what they should do. Some of these people stay and work hard at finding their ancestors and soon start taking classes and learning some computer skills. Motivation is a great thing.
The advantage of having a program like New FamilySearch, for those who have access, is that the program will already have any existing pedigree information the person's family may have submitted, for free access. That means they can go home, log in and look at what is there. To do this however, the person has to be pretty well into the first group. Among the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons) even though New FamilySearch has now been around for years, there are huge numbers of members who have not even logged on to the program one time and an even larger number who have logged on once or twice but never looked at the information. New FamilySearch is a good program for beginners, if they begin. It only gets frustrating after you have been working with it for a while.
Yes, you do start with what you know. Yes, you do gather information from your own records and immediate family members. Yes, you do start with a simple pedigree chart and fill in the blanks and no, this type of newcomer will not have the same experience as my three ladies had. But my guess is that everyone will eventually get to the point where they realize that genealogy is complicated, difficult, time-consuming, interesting, absorbing, addictive and worth the effort, if they will only keep at it for a while.