5 Genealogy Activities for March: Spring into Family History

By Andrew Koch

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Spring is here! It’s time to dust off your furniture and your genealogy skills. These five suggestions will help you grow your family tree, keep up with the latest genealogy tech and news, and celebrate your heritage.

1. ‘Spring-Clean’ Your Genealogy

Many see spring as a time to refresh and renew their spaces by taking care of cleaning tasks they normally wouldn’t have time for. And there’s no shortage of spring-cleaning advice online, from Martha Stewart and Better Homes & Gardens to the Food Network.

After you wipe down the oven and de-ice your freezer, take some time to “clean out” your research, too. Organize and streamline your family history this month by:


2. Follow Genealogy News

The major genealogy websites add new records and features year-round. But the days around the annual RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City (usually the last week of February or the first of March) are chock-full of updates from the genealogy industry.

Look for new record releases, family tree software programs, DNA tools, or artificial intelligence advancements. RootsTech’s account on X (formerly called Twitter) shares some updates, or you can read blogs for each of the major genealogy websites.

Follow along with genealogy news throughout the year with Family Tree‘s daily email newsletter or by liking Family Tree on Facebook. You could also create an account on a site like Feedly that allows you to follow multiple blogs/websites at once.


3. Focus on the Women in Your Family

Women’s History Month is in full swing. Have you taken the time to learn about your female ancestors?

Women are often harder to find in records than men. Because of societal norms, women historically had limited roles outside of the home, leaving smaller genealogical footprints than their husbands, fathers or brothers. You might even find that a woman left no surviving record besides a tombstone.

And the records a woman is listed in might only mention her by married name, making it difficult to learn maiden names (and thus, information about earlier generations).

Finding your female ancestors can be a challenge, but these six tips will help you find those elusive women in your family history.

You may need to get creative when looking for female ancestors. Here are some quick tips for finding and documenting them:

  • Refer to women by their maiden names in your family tree and genealogy software.
  • Make a list of women for whom you haven’t found a maiden name. Sources such as marriage records, the vital records of her children, and censuses can provide clues.
  • Dig into under-utilized documents, especially if you’re striking out in more-mainline records.
  • Study the roles and accomplishments of women throughout history. Read published first-hand accounts such as diaries and memoirs (maybe some that you found last month) to learn what their everyday lives were like.

4. Listen to Genealogy Learning Materials

Between podcasts and the video mega-giant YouTube, more and more of the internet is becoming audio-focused. This explosion of educational materials is perfect for those who learn best from spoken words, or are busy with other projects.

See a roundup of must-listen genealogy podcasts (including Family Tree‘s, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke) and helpful YouTube channels. RootsTech’s on-demand library hosts thousands of free lectures from previous conferences, and many of the major genealogy websites have their own video platforms (such as Ancestry Academy). Listen to them while you surf the web for records, fold laundry, drive to a library, or cook dinner.

Don’t forget audiobooks! Many titles are available in audio format, usually through a mobile app. Check your local library, or consider subscribing to a service such as Audible.

5. Research Ancestral Holidays

St. Patrick’s Day receives the most attention in the United States in March. But holidays throughout the year celebrate different heritages.

Study your family tree (and maybe your ethnicity estimates), then research what holidays commemorate your ethnic heritage today (or were important to your ancestors back when). Some examples:

  • African American: Juneteenth (June 19); Kwanzaa (December 26–January 1)
  • Brazilian: Brazilian Day/Sete de Setembro (September 7)
  • French: Bastille Day (July 14)
  • German: Oktoberfest/Von Steuben day (September)
  • Irish: St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • Italian: Columbus/Italian Heritage Day (second Monday of October)
  • Mexican: Cinco de Mayo (May 5); Mexican Independence Day (September 16); Día de Muertos (November 1–2)
  • Native American (general): Indigenous Peoples’ Day (second Monday of October)
  • Norwegian: Leif Erikson Day (October 9)
  • Polish: Casimir Pulaski Day (first Monday of March); General Pulaski Memorial Day (October 11)
  • Scottish: Burns Night (January 25); Tartan Day (April 6); St. Andrew’s Day (November 30)

Also consider heritage months:

  • February: Black History Month
  • March: Irish American History Month; Women’s History Month
  • April: Arab American Heritage Month
  • May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; Jewish American Heritage Month
  • June: Caribbean American Heritage Month; LGBTQ+ Pride Month
  • September/October: Latiné Heritage Month
  • October: Filipino American History Month; German American Heritage Month
  • November: Native American Heritage Month

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Last updated, February 2024.