Genealogy for Beginners - Are you wanting to search for your family history but don't know where to start?
Here are a few beginners tips to help you get started on your search for ancestors.

Getting Started in Genealogy
Research Tips

The first thing you need to do in getting started searching your family tree is to talk to your family. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone who is willing to share with you.

The genealogy questions you will want to ask are:

1. when they were born and where
2. where did they grow up
3. when and where they were married
4. what were their parents names
5. when did their parents marry and where
6. where are their parents buried and when did they pass away (name of cemetery, city, state)
7. are there any other family members buried there or close by
8. who were their Aunts and Uncles
9. do they know when/where they were born, married, lived, buried
10. ask them who their oldest living relative is
11. make plans to visit this person as soon as possible!

When you go to ask genealogy questions - bring a notebook, pencil, tape recorder (with fresh batteries), lots of blank tapes, and a camera. Having too many tapes is better than hearing a great story and having the tape run out half way through. Or what if you find out there is a great Aunt living close by and have run out of tapes? You can never have enough. When you go to visit, tell the person you are going to record it and place it close. One tape we have has some great stories on it but the sound quality is poor and you can barely make out the words.

It is important to ask about all the dates and places but don't forget to ask for the stories. What was Aunt Cindy like? Why did Uncle Joe never marry? Why did the family leave Texas and travel to Oklahoma? These stories are fun to hear but are also a great wealth of information for genealogists.

A camera is another must have tool. Many people will be more than happy to let you see their old pictures but reluctant to let you have them to make copies. If you have a camera, you can take photos of them and no one has to worry that the photo place will lose them.

Write everything down. Even if it seems trivial. That trivial piece of information may just be the clue you need 6 months down the line. Date when and where you got your information.

The last first step you will need to do is to transfer all of this information onto family history or pedigree charts or Family Tree software. Also you can begin grouping them by family. It is important to do this as later when you have tons of info you will not have to spend hours looking for where you put a certain record. Organization is a good thing.

What next? Take the info you know and now the detective work begins. Now you start looking for records. One of the first places you should start is with the census records. You will start to learn where your family lived and in what counties. Then you will take this information to search for other genealogy documents such as obituary notices, tax records, land records, wills etc... Each piece of information will add another piece to the puzzle.


Jelley Jar Country Home - and TM April 1998