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Genealogy, Where Do I Start?

            Tracing your family tree is really very simple. Here is a basic four-step guide to get you started.


            1.         Start with yourself and what you know

Place yourself in the first spot on a standard pedigree chart. Fill in all the information you can about yourself. Then fill in information about your parents, then grandparents, etc. Fill in all the details you can, as far back as you can on each line. The pedigree chart is a record of your direct line (lineage).

(Free Adobe PDF Viewer is required to access the charts. Download viewer if you don't already have it.)


            2.         Group families together

Once you have filled in the pedigree chart as far as you can, fill in family group records for each family, listing parents with children and other important family information. As you fill in the blanks on the charts, you’ll discover a lot of other information, such as occupations and residences. Be sure to record this information as well.


            3.         Look for missing information

Start looking for information for people closest to you first. Search for records in your house and within your reach. Next, call living relatives for information they have. Document your sources of information on the chart you are filling out in the notes or comments section. Attach blank pages if you need to. Get as much information as you can from your oldest living relatives. Let family members know you would like information about the family, and not to throw out old records and photos when settling an estate. Be willing to share your work and research with them if they’re interested.


            5.         Expand your research

Now expand your research to outside resources, such as libraries, societies, and the Internet. Start with sources on the Internet, because this is really still working from home and requires the least effort. There are many free sources to search first, then you may choose to subscribe to those sites that seem likely to have the resources you need. Next go to local libraries and LDS Family History Centers. There is still a lot of groundwork you can accomplish at home to prepare for your trip to the library. These sources will give you many other leads to follow.

            This should get you started. There is more information about the proper way to record names, dates and places, as well as documentation and source information. There are commercial and free genealogy software programs to help you computerize your records. There are so many resources available from your home (computer) before you even set foot outside on your quest for information.

            Researching your ancestors is a very rewarding project. Words cannot describe the purpose and feelings you’ll experience as you connect with your kindred dead and learn about your unique heritage. Good luck with your quest!

Who are your ancestors?

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