Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.

Remember your Roots: It's the little things

My dad's family, likely from the late 1940s or early 1950s. From left, Uncle Bill, Uncle Ted, my dad L.D., my grandfather William, my grandmother Agnes and my Uncle Jimmy.

It's that time of year again. Moms are scanning the sales ads for the best back-to-school buys. Kids are lamenting the end of summer.

It's back-to-school time.

Continuing your education isn't just for youngsters. Everyone, either for their professional career or their hobby, can benefit from continuing education.

Genealogists are not the exception. 

There is so much to learn in this field. And, what's wonderful, is there so much out there to help us continue learning about tracing our family's history, preserving records, organizing data and telling our story.

But, where do you start if you want to continue your education?

Many of the local libraries, including the Porter County Public Library, Lake County Public Library, Westchester Public Library and Hammond Public Library systems, have courses on genealogy. I took the beginners course through the Porter County Public Library twice and found it very helpful when I was just beginning.

The best bet is to find the various library web sites and look at their calendars for any upcoming events. And, while you're on their web sites, take a gander at their listed genealogy collections. They are great sources for finding local information.

The Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society, nwigs.org, is another place to look. They host monthly meetings, bouncing between Valparaiso and a Lake County site. Each month the group presents a specific topic on genealogy. Their next meeting is on Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. at the central branch of the Lake County Library on U.S. 30 in Merrillville. The topic is "Settling of Indiana."

There are hundreds of genealogy blogs online. Use our old friend Google and you'll find yourself with enough reading material for the year. 

Myself, I subscribe to Amy Johnson Crow's blog, which is delivered to my email inbox every week or so. 

Family Tree Magazine rates blogs. In 2015, they rated some of the best as Ancestry Insider, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, GeneaBloggers, Genealogy Gems and Genealogy Guys. I haven't checked them all out as yet, but they are on my never-ending to-do list.

Another resource is YouTube (youtube.com). Pulling up the home page, put genealogy in the search box. More than 160,000 video options popped up. Those options range from full episodes of television programs like Genealogy Roadshow to three- to five-minute lessons. Scrolling down the menu of offerings, you're bound to catch something that will help you in your search.

Finally, many of the paid and even unpaid genealogy web sites like Ancestry, My Heritage and FamilySearch have their own blogs or tutorial videos. You're likely to find a tip on any topic you need to learn a little more about.

Where do you go to learn more about genealogy? Let me know by dropping me a line at joyce.russell@nwi.com