Discover your Family Tree Today

A Genealogist’s Guide to Family Tree Research

Capturing your genealogy research and organizing it is a huge undertaking. It involves many hours of scouring books, microfilms, photos, scrap books, websites, etc. There is nothing more rewarding than uncovering the history of your ancestors.

Begin your Search with Six Easy Steps:

  1. Start with what you know and work back in time.
  2. Ask your family for any information that they know about your family.
  3. Record your information in family fact sheets which helps to record life important events and relationships
  4. Look for the holes in the data that you have. Do you have complete birth dates and places? Death dates and places? Marriage dates and places?
  5. Next you need to discover if the information that you are looking for is available. Most likely you will be looking for documents that will reveal family data. Depending on the state where your ancestor lived, various records became mandatory at different times. View a List of Ancestry Records by State to see when birth, death marriage, divorce, taxation, probate and last will and testaments were recorded.
  6. If the document you are looking for exists, but you are not sure where to begin, you can go to your local Family History Center and they can help you start your genealogy research.

Finding Historical Documents and Analyzing them is Essential to Genealogy

Once you start your research and gather historical documents, what do you do with them? How do you know the documents you found are actually your ancestors? Remember there are many people with the same names, who lived in the same towns and were approximately (or were) the same age as your ancestors. Don’t take for granted that finding a document with the correct names is a link to your past.

The first thing to do when finding a possible family source, from your research, is to analyze the data. Take into consideration where the archive came from; how you found it; who provided the input for the source; and what was its purpose? What contradicts current family information? Scrutinize every bit of the record. Write a conclusion as to why you think this source represents your genealogy tree.

Begin your Family Research

To Create an Accurate Family Tree, Search for the Truth and Iron out Discrepancies

Family research is the basis for starting and recording your ancestor’s history. Without research and finding sources to back-up your lineage, a tree becomes just a document with names and places. If you can only locate one document or none include a narrative of why you think this one heirloom is proof for your ancestor's heritage.

Your relatives have all lived through many issues and have many stories to tell. Locate the stories about your heritage and record your findings. If you happen to discover a black sheep don't worry, we all have stories that we think we should hide, but should really share them. Let your future family members read and learn about your history. Start your genealogy research today.

Places to Begin your Family Research

Heritage Quest:
A good place to begin your search is through Heritage Quest , an online resource that can be accessed through participating libraries, archives, and many genealogical societies. Through this web browser, users can search U.S. Census indexes, tax lists, city directories, probate records, digitized images, and more than 20,000 books; search Periodical Source Index (PERSI), a widely recognized resource guide of 2.3 million genealogy and local history articles; as well as, search Revolutionary War records; Freedman's Bank (1865-1874), which was founded to serve African Americans; or Search memorials, petitions, and private relief actions of the U.S. Congress.

National Archives:
Access documents that can be researched online, in person, or can be borrowed through your local library. To find a list of National Archives Locations click here. Find out what family research documents they have.

Church of Latter-Day Saints:
Start your family tree research through online documents and family trees, or order microfilms that can be viewed through their family history centers, which can be found in almost every county in the United States and around the world.

Find books and family tree sources by searching the WorldCat global catalog.

Newspapers contain valuable information. They often include, birth, death, marriage, engagement and other family tree history. Many newspapers are available online and have a searchable index.