Genealogy 101

So you want to give genealogy a try… but where to begin?  This video will outline some common errors and further below are steps to begin.

Here is a short list of things to get you started.

  1. Collect “perishable” things and preserve them. Ask questions of family members, recording conversations if you can.
    • Visit with your oldest living relative to learn more about their lives.  Ask for details but also ask open ended questions. (see article “Family Interviews” for sample questions and other pointers)
    • Organize photos and other memorabilia collected. (see article “Organization“)
    • Make digital copies and distribute to family members – thus ensuring their survival. (see article “Scanning Photos & Documents“)
  2. Determine where you want to build your tree. (see article “Genealogy Programs“)
    • Computer programs
    • Online programs
    • World trees
  3. Begin by following “hints” available on most genealogy programs to become familiar with easily found sources.  But don’t accept all “hints” – they may not be correct.  Be sure to check information: location, spouse, children, birth date/place, etc. (See video at the bottom of this page for suggestions on “hints.”)
  4. Source and organize “finds” as you go, attaching them to your tree.
  5. Don’t get discouraged with inevitable brick walls. (see article “Overcoming Brick Walls” – coming soon)
  6. Use on-line resources to answer questions and find solutions.  Google can lead you to many great finds.
  7. One final word of advice… when looking at records, be sure to look at the image, there is a world of information in a census record or draft registration card. Be sure to take the time to view them.