Friday, March 23, 2018

How Genealogy Literate Are You?

A fun quiz for family historians.  Add up your score and comment below!

One point for each of the following:
Have you ever…  
Attended a local genealogy workshop?
Visited your state vital records office?
Done the genealogy happy dance at home in your pajamas?
Googled your ancestor’s name?
Cursed under your breath when Ancestry changed its website?
Helped someone else online with a genealogy problem?
Left flowers at an ancestor’s grave at least 4 generations removed?
Wrote a query on Facebook page, on a website or message board?
Waited excitedly for the 1940 census records to appear online?
Trimmed a five generation branch off your family tree?
Got someone else interested in researching their ancestry?
Join a local genealogy society?
Stayed up until midnight researching online?
Became overly excited to find a black sheep ancestor?

Two points for the following:
Have you ever…  
Attended a regional genealogy event?
Visited your county probate court record depository?
Done the genealogy happy dance in a public library?
Googled your ancestor’s name using quotation marks, OR, AND or “-“ (minus sign)?
Helped someone else solve a genealogy problem in a library, archive or records repository?
Left flowers at the grave of an ancestor at least six generations removed?
Written a snail mail letter asking for genealogy information?
Own a copy of “Evidence Explained”?
Do you remember waiting for the 1930 census records to appear online?
Successfully used Steve Morse’s website to find an Ellis Island immigrant you couldn’t find any other way?
Ordered a microfilm to view at your local Family History library?
Found a book on the “re-shelf” cart at the genealogy society (it caught your eye) that solved your brickwall?
Got a young person (under 21) interested in researching their family tree?
Given a family tree chart to someone as a gift?
Join an ancestral society (surname society or family association)?
Participated in an online indexing project?
Stayed up until 2am researching online?
Gotten excited to find two ancestors shared a grandparent (it simplifies things, doesn’t it?)

Five points for each of these:
Have you ever…  
Attended a national genealogy event that involved taking a plane, train or bus to get there?
Visited the National Archives in Washington DC or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City?
Done the genealogy happy dance in a courthouse or federal building?
Googled your ancestors using quotation marks, wild cards, asterisks and dates?
Given a presentation about genealogy, even if it was only to the five people in your local genealogy club or library?
Tripped over a tree root at the cemetery only to look up and find the tombstone you’ve been searching for the past two hours?
Cold called someone you never met because they shared a surname with an ancestor in an ancestral village or geographical location?
Remember being excited when you finally got a copy of the microfilm for the 1920 census?
Bring cookies or donuts for the town or county clerk?
Visit the “vertical file” at every local library and historical society you visit?
Used a research log?
Given a copy of your genealogy research to the library or historical society where your ancestors originated?
Joined a national genealogical society that produces a scholarly journal ?
Written a short article for a genealogy club newsletter, family association email, local historical society newsletter or local newspaper or magazine?
Visited your ancestral village, stopped at the pub or diner, and met a distant cousin “by accident” with your surname or one of your ancestral surnames.  Extra points if this cousin leads you to more helpful information!
Pulled an all-nighter while researching online?

Ten points!:
Have you ever … 
Googled ancestors using the operator [site:  ]?
Applied for a court order to unseal records from an asylum, poorhouse, adoption or prison?
Developed research plans (and stuck to it)?
Joined a lineage society that required lineage papers?
Taken classes at genealogical institutes to improve your skills (certificate programs, weeklong institutes, guided research trips)?
Learned a foreign language just so you could translate your own ancestor’s documents?
Gone shopping with friends but explored the cemetery next door whilst the friends perused the mall?
Brought your own white gloves and magnifying glass to an archive?
Ever considered buying a roll of microfilm instead of constantly ordering it from Salt Lake City?
Knocked on a stranger’s door and asked to look around because an ancestor once lived there?
Started your own genealogy blog (even just a secret one for family members)?

Twenty points!
Have you ever...
Write a peer reviewed article for a national genealogy society journal, magazine or newsletter?
Were you accepted into a lineage society under a line no one had previously applied under?
Traveled across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean to visit an archive in a foreign country for your genealogy research?
Cancelled plans for a national genealogy conference to attend a family event (wedding, bar mitzvah, reunion) because living family is more important than those who have passed on?
Accepted the position of historian for a lineage society?

What was your score? Who scored the highest?


To Cite/Link to this post:
  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "How Genealogy Literate Are You?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 23, 2018, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. 86, which I think is pretty good as the US based questions didn’t apply to me!

    1. It's fun to know the quiz has gone "international!" Thanks for commenting, Maureen!

  2. 153, pretty good for a UK genealogist who as to ask what's a vertical file?

  3. 92 but working hard to increase my score!

  4. 154. Missing NGS to attend my son's wedding boosted my score.

  5. 120. The 20 point questions really helped me.

  6. Mine was 60, got none of the 20 pt questions and only 1 of the 10 pt questions.

  7. Mine was 149. I'm using it for SNGF this week, and referring readers to your blog post.

  8. Mine was 179. No flowers or research plans, but census waiting, archives and courthouse visits gave me some points.

  9. 129 - not bad! It helped that I joined the DAR under a line no one had previously applied under.

  10. 240 - all the societies I have joined, conferences I’ve attended and late night online google searches helped my score.

  11. 151! Much more than I expected but need to get back on track again after many disruptions! Great fun, enjoyed the quiz.

  12. 151! More than I expected but need to get back on track after many disruptions. Enjoyed the fun quiz

  13. I am way late with this, as I was on a ship with not very good internet. 231 points. Thanks, Heather, for starting this up.

  14. ut oh, I'm really adicted, 222

  15. Those 20-point questions have been and remain on my to-be-done list once I define where, exactly, my ancestors hail from.

  16. Accomplishing some of the 20-point goals is on my bucket soon as I verify where, exactly, my ancestral homes are. That is one of the problems with having no records, no living ancestors, and grandparents who were loathe to share details about their pre-immigrant lives when they were alive.