I have been caught up (rather obsessively) recently with a family history project on behalf of my wife's family. The most important thing to learn about family history is that it is best accomplished as a collaborative project. In fact, as it is all about family, I'm not sure there is any other way to actually do it. Families and family history are all about connections anyway. They without us and we without them cannot be made perfect and all.
We all have different talents and abilities that can complement each other in our family history work. My wife, for example, is a very organized and determined person. She has been trying to get some personal histories out of her parents for some time. This last year she set up a project in conjunction with the monthly family dinners we have at my parents-in-law. She prepared some outlines of questions to aid in discussion of several themes on parents, school, work, dating, etc. I'll post those that I have in digital form on a separate page. Then she started off discussion with these questions. A niece and I typed away furiously on our laptops to record the discussions. We provided our rough draft notes to my wife. She has been meaning to get to them but didn't really know how to start or what to do.
So I had to come to the rescue - it's hard to find those opportunities to really be of service to my wife who doesn't like to be the princess in distress. I finally convinced her that I would be glad to write it up as I had with other projects for my own family. So I began to tackle it.
It's fortunate that I really get along well with my in-laws. I found the project very enjoyable. But I also just love history--and writing about it. I took my draft notes and checked them against those my niece had written. I smoothed out the language to write it up as a narrative. And it is so easy these days to do the extra research for context, particularly to get the basic data on people mentioned from new.familysearch.org. (As in, "who were Aunt Minnie's husband's brothers?") And I have pretty good "google" skills to find out things about the places they referenced, like Granite Mill where my wife's grandfather worked. So, I footnote profusely with this background info, but then I am an attorney.
So here I am trying to get as much done before Christmas so we can present something to my in-laws. It keeps me away from politics a little. But trying to do some good for family brings us a little more of that peace on earth, good will to men stuff.
Ho, ho, ho!