One of my family lines came from France. I can't speak French. Do you have any tips?
You can do quite a bit of French research without speaking a word of French. I do it for Polish records all the time. The Family History Library has many French records. As long as you have your family narrowed down to a certain locality and a certain time period you can take advantage of these records. Start off by arming yourself with a French Word List for Genealogists which has most of the words you will come across. Then watch these great interactive courses to help you learn how to read and interpret French records:
- French Research
- Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The French Alphabet
- Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Key Words and Phrases
- Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading French Records
I hope you read my blog post on Research Binders. This is the PERFECT place to store your French word list and some of the supplemental materials that are available in the lessons as well as some sample documents. Take your binder with you if you go to a Family History Center to look at microfilm.
Whenever I need to learn something about a specific topic, the first place I look is the Family Search Wiki. The second place I go is the FamilySearch Research Courses. FamilySearch provides so many great learning opportunities that are completely free of charge.
Question from Michelle:
How can I hook up with other people that are researching the same family as I am?
My favorite way is through the Rootsweb Mailing Lists. There are mailing lists for every locality and every surname you can think of. If you are new to a particular list, you can also browse and search the old messages. My second favorite are the Rootsweb Message Boards. You can access the very same boards through the Ancestry Message Boards. They are one and the same.
Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis