1. Google your ancestors.
"Family Tree" only needs to go online and some facts about your genealogy. Use Google to combine search terms and find exact phrases. Enter the name of the ancestor in quotation marks, plus a location [such as "Sampson doyle ""Hamilton Ohio]. To specify this place, you can expand your search at any time. You can also try using the initials and nicknames, put the last name in the first place, and then use Google to search for the names of the two suspicious spouses, each enclosed in quotation marks.
2. Search in the book.
Use the same search strategy as above, but this time using Google Book Search. Not every book that can be searched here can be previewed on the screen. Google "snippet" lets you access only a few lines in the book; you may still need to track the actual title in a second-hand bookstore or library.
3. Check your DNA.
Use your lunch time to order test kits from the Genetics Genealogy Service. Once the kit arrives, you can wipe your cheeks, pack your samples and run them into the mailroom, and leave most of the rest of the lunch time. After obtaining the results, spend another lunch searching for matches in the DNA database.
4. Download the digital military record.
The online genealogy website provides key revolutionary wars and an increasing number of civil war records, as well as selected documents from other conflicts. You can view the Bounty Warrants, Civil War Prisoners Records, World War I and the Second World War Draft Registration Card.
5. Apply for a death certificate.
Another task you can do at lunchtime is to order [and possibly download] a death certificate. Usually, getting the ancestor's death record needs to be written to the correct government agency [charge] and then wait. First, link to the life record office of your state where your ancestors died. Confirm that a death has been recorded at the time and follow the instructions for the request [you may need to contact the State Archives or the County Key Records Office].
But maybe your ancestor's record is online. For example, Missouri cataloged deaths from 1910 to 1957 with links to certificate images. Arizona provided a death database [1844–1957] containing a PDF of the certificate. Several states, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio, have online death indices, as do Cook County in Chicago.
6. Interview relatives.
Lunch time is great for local home calls or for long distance calls or visits. Your conversation with Aunt Essel may only turn to her favorite family story. You can even prepare some questions.
7. Order a record of the microfilm.
If your office is close to the Family History Center, you have time to zip from the Family History Library [FHL] in Salt Lake City and order microfilm records [about $5.50 per roll]. If it's too much, please use FUN's online catalog to plan your next microfilm with your noon break. I want to first click on "Place Search" and enter a place name to see the available records. When you find something useful, click View Movie Number to view the movie number and bring it to the FHC after work.
8. Join a family tree or a historical society.
We mean more than just your local group: members of the community you are studying [at the state or county level, or both] can get huge returns. Many societies have websites with databases and message boards that allow you to order publications, ask local cemeteries, get internal advice about circumventing court fires, and see if anyone can quickly find records. From the Genealogical Society's website, the Cyndi list or the USGenWeb state and county page links to the national community.
9. Observe, listen and learn.
Grab your headphones, chew your lunch, and improve your family tree IQ. At Roots Television, you can view expert interviews, documentaries, genealogy lectures, action videos, and more at your convenience. You can also browse the video channels of Family Tree Magazine, watch demos, library tours, and more. Then listen to a podcast full of suggestions, such as GenealogyGems, Genealogy Guys Podcast or our own Family Tree Magazine podcast.
10. Build a new family tree friend.
Social networking sites such as Geni and FamilyHistoryLink are popular trends in genealogy. If your Facebook page is already busy, add a genealogy app to your profile, such as FamilyBuilder's Family Tree. Most genealogy websites can store and share your genealogy; you can even give up traditional genealogy software. Use web features to collaborate with family members and other researchers, share discoveries, post family photos and plan reunion.
11. Use the library.
Of course, you have a research to-do list that you can solve at the nearby library lunch time. But you can also work remotely with the KUKA: many library systems allow users to access the database from home [or office] simply by entering a valid card number.
12. Update your genealogy.
Sites such as Ages-Online, Ancestry Member Trees, Family Pursuit and Shared Tree allow you to exempt boxed genealogy software and build your tree online. In addition to protecting your pedigree files when your computer crashes, remotely storing your genealogy means you can access your information from anywhere.
13. Back up the family tree file.
If you bring digital data to the office, lunch time provides the best time to support your hard work. Get an external hard drive for about $100. Just plug it into the USB port on your computer and drag the file. Another option is to make an online backup. Free services that provide the right amount of network storage are rapidly increasing; some of the more well-known ones include 4Shared, Dropboks and Openomy.
14. Read the blog.
Lunch is a perfect time to learn about news, links and chats in your favorite genealogy blog, such as the Family Tree Magazine blog.