08 August 2006

Finding Your Ancestor, Part II

At this point you should have a family tree started and family group sheets filled out. Now it's time to start searching. First get a highlighter, set down and highlight each unknown, unproven, or incomplete piece of information for each ancestor.

Pick one ancestor to start with. Then of course there are more forms to use! Also you will need a computer database to enter you information into. It really will get overwhelming if you don't.

Census Charts These charts will help you to read the originals or you can use them to transcribe the information from the originals that pertain to your ancestors.

Individual Research Chart These will help you record all information about one particular ancestor as well as a chronological list of event in their life that will aid in your research.

Another Great Web Site of Genealogy Forms and Chart

Now that you have an ancestor to research and you know what information is unknown. There is a few more forms you will need!

Research Log

Source Notes

Research worksheet This one is a must. I used this form and added a few things to it. This was the first page. The second page has a section to write down all the questions that need to be answered. Then the bottom half of the second page has three columns; Set Goal, Source, Results. If you would like a copy of this form please email me. I would be glad to share it.

Now lets get started. The first place I recommend any beginner to start is on Ancestry.com. Ancestry seems to always have a two week free trial period. Take advantage of it. Here you can find census records, birth, death, and sometimes marriage records. The census records and the WWI records you can view and print the originals. Most other records are just indexes so you will need to send off for the originals. There are also some newspaper articles available on Ancestry. Simply enter you ancestors name and date range as well as the place they were born, died and or lived. Be open to misspelled names as well as census records with other incorrect information. You may actually find your ancestor and not know it if your don't consider all possibilities.

Another place for online research is on RootsWeb. Again there are index records and family trees and histories to look through. Searching for your ancestor works the same way as ancestry. Enter as much information as you can. The best part though is Roots Web is FREE!

Always keep in mind that other people do research and post their information on these websites. Consider anyone else's work only a clue to your ancestors existence. Do not look it as fact. There is a great deal of information posted on the web that is incorrect. Use what you find to give you a clue as to where you might find you ancestor. Also contact anyone who appears to be researching the same family line. You will be amazed at how many people love to share their information. You may even be lucky enough to find someone with photos of your family members.

Remember keep your files organized, use as many forms as possible that help you in your search, contact others researching the same family or surname, post what information you can prove at least on Roots Web so others can find you, and if you ever get stumped I'm here to help.

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