Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Family Research Part I

Getting Started
  1. Organize the information acquired based on surnames and maiden names divided into family lines. Create folders and files for these lines whether you use manila file folders or computer files. Stay focused on keeping the information documented and indexed.
  2. Begin documentation with you, your spouse and your children. This data may seem less pressing than initiating the search for your ancestors, but it is important information to document for your children. Your generation gives you a starting point to work from. As the family historian, you have the privilege of recording ancestors and descendants.
  3. Make a file for you, your spouse and children. Name the file, for example, “The Family of John Q. Smith and Jane M. Doe.” Record date and place of marriage, and the names of any children, including their middle names. Include all birthdates and places of birth, any deaths and date of death, where they died and place of burial. Include any marriages of your children, the names of their spouses--including maiden names and the names of your grandchildren. Include their vital information, such as date of birth, place of birth, and so on.
  4. Create a new file for your parents and another file for your spouse’s parents or make sub-files for each set of parents in the previous file created for your family. Decide how much information is best for you to include in a file. Continuity becomes more complicated the further back one researches family ancestry. This file should include yourself and your siblings. The same applies for your spouse’s family history. Always include vital statistics on each person (date of birth, etc.). If you do not know that information enter “unknown” and you can fill the data in should you find it later on.
  5. Choose the line to start researching—paternal or maternal. If you hit a roadblock, do not become discouraged; begin researching the other line. This is a process that takes time and patience and there is a lot of information to compile. Stay on track. Maintain a direct line of lineage to you and your children. 
Family Research Part II

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