Now that you’re beginning or re-starting your research, here are more suggestions to help you:
- Start with a single last name, family or even an individual. It’s easier to keep track of one surname or family at a time. This also “… reduces the chance of missing important details due to sensory overload. As much as you might want to, you can’t do it all at once.” (Powell, K. About.com Genealogy)
- Ask permission to record interviews and take photographs. When you ask a family member for genealogical information, you’re going to want to remember as much as possible about what they say. Taking their photo gives you a reference point such as “Mom on 11/16/2011” plus you can include pictures on most family tree sites.
- Start a “Family Tree.” Keeping records is easier with a “family tree builder.” You can choose paper forms, family history software and/or a website based model. Check FamilySearch.org’s Step 2 for more information. There are free charts on About.com Genealogy, free family tree section of Ancestry.com, free software download (and website “storage”) on MyHeritage and room for lots of pictures on 1000 Memories.
- Make lots of notes. Birth dates, death certificates, census records and so forth don’t always agree. But, don’t despair. If one record says your great-grandfather died at 97 and another says 102, write them both down. Some search engines suggest giving five years leeway on both sides. Look up his name again and mark a ten year period for a possible death certificate. This is especially important for people born before Social Security numbers came into being.
- Learn more as you go. Subscribe to a newsletter, watch videos and/or chat on forums. I personally recommend signing up for “Intro to Genealogy” at About.com Genealogy and Kimberly Powell’s “Getting Started” guide!
For your next step, grab your notepad, laptop computer and/or other record keeping tools and go to the library! Below is a short list of local public libraries by location. If yours isn’t shown, look under Public Libraries.
- Evansville, IN; Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. Check out their Genealogical Resources in the “Indiana Room.”
- Evansville, IN; Willard Library which has genealogy and local history collections.
- Rockport, IN; Spencer County Public Library with it’s easy to remember Genealogy Department
- Owensboro, KY; Daviess County Public Library. Be sure to visit the “Kentucky Room.”
- Henderson, KY; Henderson County Public Library which has a special area for Genealogy and Local History
Powell, Kimberly. How to Begin Tracing Your Family Tree. About.com; Genealogy. 26 Nov 2011