Nancianne Parkes Suber has a good article for beginning genealogists, Starting own research project easy, in The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi). Most of it contains tips that many of us are already aware of, but if you know somebody just starting out, it’s a good little article to send them.
She points out two of the most important things one should do when they pick up genealogy as a hobby – talk to the older folks and other family members. The second most important thing – don’t head to the Internet to begin your research (and along with that, she points out – don’t believe everything you read).
Too many people jump on the internet, log onto a genealogy site (take your pick), find a family tree that matches up with their’s, and consider that line done. I can go four generations back in my family, visit Ancestry.com or Rootsweb or even just google, and find a dozen people with incorrect information about my ancestors. Had I not done the research myself, and/or already had the proper documents, I would never have known that they were incorrect.
Once you really get into genealogy, you’re going to find that the real thrill is not in finishing off a branch of your family (bad choice of words, but you understand my meaning), it’s in putting the pieces together for yourself.