Find Information For A Genealogy Chart

Want to make a genealogy chart? Here is a beginner's guide to uncovering your fammily history. Includes a synopsis of what to look for, how to get started, and where to go.

There are many reasons one may decide to research their family tree. Maybe you are interested in finding out some important medical history, or maybe you are trying to put together a family reunion. Whatever the reasons may be, genealogy research can be made simple with these basic steps.

Decide on What Type of Research

What exactly are you looking to find out? If it were medical history, then there would be no need to record information regarding 3rd or 4th cousins, for example. You may want to stick to researching the medical background of your parents, their siblings and your grandparents. If you are trying to put together information for a family reunion, then the research may be more in-depth. You may want to have information on birth dates and place, marriage, burial, education, occupation, etc. Your research can be as extensive as you would like. Once you have made that decision, sit down and start at step one.

Begin Within Your Family

The first step that you will want to take involves sitting down and making a listing of the family members that you know. Start with yourself, then your parents, followed by your grandparents on both sides, and so on. If there are any siblings, you may want to add that information, also. If there is any information about the person you know first hand, write that down. For example, if you know that your father died of a heart attack or that your grandfather's birthday is June 21st. If there are any blank spaces, put together some questions you may have and began interviewing family members. Maybe you were too young to remember your grandparents, ask your parents or aunts and uncles any questions you may have about them. When interviewing family, you may want to record the interview to have a back up for accuracy.

Obtain Family Documents

The next step would be to find any family documentation. A lot of family recorded births and marriages in their family bibles. There may also be copies of birth and marriage certificates, wills, and deeds locked away in the family member's home. You can also find this information recorded at the local Clerk's Office of the town in which the person was born or married in. You can use these in order to get the most accurate source on dates. As far as death records go, if you can find out the date or social security number of the deceased, a copy of the death certificate can be obtained from the state records. More on family documents will be discussed in later steps.

Visit Your Public Library

At your state and some local branch libraries, you may be able to find information on your family. You can find published genealogies of families in your city town or state. At the state library level, you may be able to find copies of birth and marriage records, newspapers, deeds, wills, land records on microfilm. There you can make copies of this information. Along with these records, some census records may be available at your state library. Depending upon the year, the census has information such as birth, race, and occupation of the persons of that household. This could be very helpful. The downfall is that the census information was recorded by hand, which may be illegible. Also in some rural areas, dates and ages may have been guessed because records were not well kept. It would be wise to check other records to authenticate accuracy. The entire census records can found at the National Archives in Washington, D.C or one of its state branches. There you will also find immigrant and military records.

Online Research

The Internet has become an innovative way to conduct genealogy. There are websites that will allow you to search databases of surnames and records, some for free. Maybe there is someone else who has been researching your family, through message board or listservs, the two of you can share notes.

Following these steps will ensure that no stone goes unturned when uncovering your family's past.

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