No research time? No Problem!

Having trouble finding time to grow your family tree? Whether you've put off starting your family tree or can't find time to get back to your research, here are some quick research tasks for the person with a packed schedule. Many of these take only a few minutes and can help you make strides in tracing your ancestry. Start searching on now!

1) Keep a to-do list!

As new collections are added online, you might not have time to conduct a search immediately. Take a few minutes to jot down what you want to look for when you learn of new collections. That way, when you have a few moments to research you can start your search right away.

2) Search one record set at a time

It is easy to spend hours searching through pages of search results. Instead, take 10 minutes and choose one specific record set to search. This way, you will spend your time looking through a smaller set of results.

3) Send an e-mail to a family member

We often miss out on stories from living generations because we do not take the time to conduct interviews. Rather than trying to find time to conduct an in-depth interview you're your family members, spend 5-10 minutes to compose and send an e-mail to a relative (or two) with one or two questions they can answer about the family.

4) Contact a library or genealogical society

An e-mail to a library or genealogical society can only take a few minutes to compose and send but can yield great returns. Look for a genealogical society in the area where your ancestors lived and send a query via e-mail or the society's Facebook page.

5) One family at a time

It is so easy to become overwhelmed when trying to tackle an entire family tree at once. Pick one family (or even one individual) to spend an hour researching. As other tempting information pops up, save it to your “to-do list" for a future search session.

6) Track your path

When searching online, take a few moments to write down where you searched. Then, when you have another few moments to pick up your online research again, you won't waste time redoing searches you have already done.

7) Take time to share

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks allow you to quickly share a status update from your research. Take a few minutes to share information about what you have just uncovered or what you are hoping to uncover. Others interested in family history might be willing to give you a helping hand when they learn what you are seeking.

8) Gather vital records

Sending requests for copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates (vital records) often only takes a few minutes and can be an important step (as relying upon transcriptions or indexes often does not reveal all the information you can find from the original). Visit the state's vital record website to find the online form to request a copy. Ensure you gather certificates for direct line ancestors, as well as their siblings.

9) Search unusual surnames

Go after unusual surnames first (as they are often easier to find in some records). Looking for siblings within a family that have an unusual first name is also a trick.

10) Pick up the phone

It never hurts to make a quick phone call to an archive or relative to ask a quick family history question. You can always add the information you learn to your to-do list.