Saturday, May 14, 2016

How to begin researching your genealogy

At some point, every avid genealogist was a beginner. We all felt the same excitement and the the same confusion about where to start. Relax, genealogy is an obsession that lasts a lifetime and just getting started is the first step. 

1. Get a loose-leaf note book or steno pad. You will use this a lot. Even in this computer age, your genealogy is too important to trust to just a digital medium, have a paper back up. 

2. Source everything the minute you write it down. Put the page number and the exact name of the document or person who provided the information. Trust me, later when you want to know where the information came from, you will thank me. 

3. Create a family group sheet with what you know. You can download a sheet and many other blank genealogy forms from 

4. Talk to family members especially the oldest ones. It is important to ask the right questions but also important to listen to the stories that are part of your family lore. 

5. The census is a great source of family information. It isn't just the United States census either, England, Canada, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have easily accessible censuses that can be a very valuable resource. 

6. Visit the town hall or court house in the towns that are part of your family history. They are a treasure trove of information and often contain the local public records. 

This is just the beginning of one of the most exciting adventures of your life. Many more steps go into creating the picture of your family but these few basic tips are enough to get you off to a good start.

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