Google Your Ancestors

Google Your Ancestors

This may be the shortest blog you have read, but sometimes you get a lot of information just by googling your ancestors.  Of course, you can use Bing, DuckDuck Go, Yahoo, AOL, or any search engine you like.

Just putting my maiden name into my search engine gives me a Wikipedia article on Notable People with the same last name, a website showing the meaning of my surname, information on migration of the family, variations on spelling, early origins of the family, and the family crest, and many more results.

The reason I mention Google is because I have recently discovered some Google Books on my family.  This book, Mr. Fortner’s Marital Claims, was published in 1892.  I can read through it to see if I am related to this Mr. Fortner plus, I can add it to my library for further reference.  This book by Mona Forkner Paulas is not an ebook but I can see a snippet and I can see places where I can buy this book.  I also have the title and the author so I can see if this book is available at my local library.

Good luck with your search.

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All Rights Reserved with Full Rights Reserved for Original Contributor

Mississippi flag; photo by Richard Threlkeld on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).

Testing Your DNA

Testing Your DNA

I got my DNA tested at FamilyTreeDNA when it was on sale several years ago.  Look for sales all through the year and especially near a holiday. I took the autosomal DNA test.  The test was easy to take: it only requires a cheek swab. The instructions for taking the test were easy to follow and I got my results pretty quickly.  I was able to load my GEDcom to their website so that I could find matches.

There are 3 types of DNA tests:

  1. Autosomal dna looks at 22 chromosomes from each of your parents so it can be taken by either a man or a woman and can provide information about the families of both parents.
  2. The Y-DNA test can only be done by a male member of the family.  In addition to the 22 chromosomes we get from each of our parents, we also get a sex chromosome.  The Y-chromosome is passed down from father to son. Females do not have a Y-chromosome.
  3. The mtDNA test will give information about your mother’s side of the family.  This test can be taken by a male or female member of the family since mitochondrial DNA is passed down from a mother to all her children.

I don’t usually read the fine print but I think it is important to read through all the legal jargon before purchasing your DNA kit.  Questions you will want to answer are:

  1. Is my information private?
  2. Will my DNA be used to solve criminal cases without my knowledge or approval?
  3. What can I learn from this test?
  4. How accurate is the test?
  5. How long will it take to get my test results?
  6. What information will be shared with a third party?
  7. Does the company keep your DNA test, and if so, how, where, and how long is it kept?  If your results are kept online, is the information encrypted?

You may find that you have other questions too.

There are several places that will test your DNA.  These are listed in no particular order.

  1. FamilyTreeDNA
  2. Ancestry
  3. 23andMe
  4. CRIgenetics
  5. MyHeritage
  6. LivingDNA
  7. Vitagene
  8. Nebula
  9. GPS Origins

So, how do you connect with other family members once you get your results?

  1.  Register at GEDmatch and upload your GEDCOM and your test results to see matches.
  2. You can upload raw results to Gene Heritage from any major DNA testing company.
  3. FamilyTreeDNA
  4. Ancestry
  5. 23-and-Me
  6. MyHeritage

You may find others.

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All Rights Reserved with Full Rights Reserved for Original Contributor

Mississippi flag; photo by Richard Threlkeld on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).

Social Security Records

Social Security Records

The National Archives has a wealth of information you can use in researching your family.  One thing you can find there is Social Security Records.  There you will see social security applications and social security death files.  These documents are for the years 1936-2007 and for people who have a verified death date or who would be 110 years old by December 31, 2007.

Click on the search button for the group that contains your last name. You do not have to fill out all the spaces on this form.  In fact, it may be good to leave a few blank, i.e., my mother always told me she was born in Stuttgart, but her social security application says she was born in Almyra.  If your search turns up a record, you can see their social security number, citizenship, full name, date of birth, race, ethnicity, sex, mother’s full name, father’s full name, city of birth, for women you can see if they received a duplicate card due to a marriage and the previous marriage name.

Scroll down to the death files and look for your ancestor there.  You can find their social security number, full name, date of birth, date of death, sex, and zip code of residence.

Another good resource for searching the Social Security Death Index is the website of Stephen P. Morse.  These are records between 1936 and February 28, 2014.  His article “Decoding Social Security Numbers” can be a good resource for clues about your ancestors.

You can also find the Social Security Death Index at FamilySearch.  You will need to set up a free account if you don’t already have one.

In addition, you can search at any of the paid subscription websites, i.e., Ancestry or MyHeritage.

Good luck in your research.

Searching Land Records

Searching Land Records

There are several good websites for finding early land records.  The Bureau of Land Management website is a great resource for Land Patents, Surveys Plats and Field Notes, Land Status Records (LSR), Control Document Index (CDI), Tract Books, and Land Catalog.  

For today, we will be talking about Land Patents.  Click on “Search Documents” and this is where you will enter the state you are interested in searching.  You do not have to fill in all the information. You can also select the county, township, range, median, and section number.  You can fill in the Last Name, First Name, and Middle Name.

For example, I am looking for land owned by my ancestor, Nathan Fortner.  I have found him in the 1830 St. Clair, Alabama census.

I click on “Search Patents” and this is the result.

Now that I see Nathan Fortner, I can click on “image” on the left of his name.  

This patent was issued to Nathan Fortner of Marengo County, Alabama.  This patent can be downloaded or printed by hovering over the black area at the top.  You can also order a certified copy.

You can click on “Related Documents” to see other documents related to this one.  This list will be documents that match the land description in the patent.

Click on “Patent Details” and you will see “Map” in the lower left hand corner of the screen.

Click the box next to map and you can see where this land is on the map of Alabama.

You can zoom in or zoom out depending on what your needs are.

Sometimes you will find interesting details in the land patent.

This patent shows that Nancy Fortner is the widow of Nathan Fortner.  It also shows that Nathan served as a private in Captain Craig’s Company, 2nd Regiment, Tennessee Militia, War of 1812.  One word of caution, and this applies to whatever records you are looking at, make sure that this is your relative. For example, my ancestor, Nathan Fortner lived in South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi.  All the Tennessee Militia in the War of 1812 were from counties in Tennessee. Since my ancestor did not live in Tennessee, he cannot be the Nathan Fortner that received a land patent for his service in the War of 1812.

Not every state will be on this website, but they have a list of resources for other states.

Another really good site for land records is historygeo.com.  There you can find The First Landowners Project and The Antique Map Collection.  For this site, you will need a subscription. Click here for for subscription options.  

I really like their map view because you can see your relative and all the neighbors.

Click on the map pin on the left side of the screen and you get a pop-up menu showing the parcel details.

The two options at the bottom of this pop-up menu take you to the Bureau of Land Management website.  You can also view this on Google Maps. The U. S. Boundary History is a good feature.

Here you can see that this area belonged to the Native Americans in 1790, 1800, and 1810.  Alabama became a state in 1819, so for 1820 until today it is part of Jefferson County, Alabama.

You can also save to “My people”.

You can use the search box at the top of the page to find every place in the United States where someone with your surname was a first landowner.

Each circle contains a number that lets you know how many people with your surname are there.

To get the most out of this website, I suggest that you watch the how-to-videos found in the Support section.  There are many more things you can do at the website, for example, read their blog, look at antique maps, or chart your ancestors migration.  

 

Cemeteries

Cemeteries

Cemeteries are a great place to find those missing birth dates and death dates and to verify that the dates you have are correct. Remember to take a photo of the headstone as your source.

A trip to the cemetery will probably give you the chance to get dates for more than one relative since family members are usually buried in the same cemetery.

Watson family buried in Marks Cemetery

In addition, it gives you a chance to confirm or find marriages and children.  Husbands and wives may have a double headstone with the marriage date on their headstone.  (In this case, the date on the headstone is wrong. It should be 21 July 1951. Scroll down to “gravesite details”.)

Photo of double headstone showing date of marriage

I have seen headstones that say Mother and Father.  Some of the headstones of the parents will have the names of their children.  

Headstone showing names of children

Obituaries are another good way of finding birth and death dates.  In addition, the obituary usually has the name of the spouse, children, siblings,  parents, occupation, military service. Some memorials on findagrave.com have obituaries.

Memorial at Find a Grave with an obituary

Some findagrave.com memorials will have a picture.

Memorial at findagrave.com with a picture

As you can see from this memorial, sometimes all the family members are linked together.

In addition to findagrave.com, Billion Graves is another good website for looking up cemetery information.

Cemetery search at Billion Graves

You can also search the Billion Graves index at Family Search.org.  If you don’t already have a free account, sign up for one at FamilySearch.org.

Billion Graves Index at Family Search

Internment.net has some transcribed cemeteries that are free to search.

Internment.net

Accessgenealogy.com has a very nice cemetery database.  Check out this website because they have a lot of information to share.

Accessgenealogy.com

If you have information to share, consider volunteering your time and information to one of these sites.

Contribute to Find a Grave

Become a BillionGraves Volunteer

Submit a Transcription to Internment.Net

 

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All Rights Reserved with Full Rights Reserved for Original Contributor

Census Records — Part 2

Census Records — Part 2

The 1880 census has a lot of information.  The headings are name of street and house number if living in the city, name, color, sex, age, if born within year give the month, relationship to head of family, single, married, widowed, divorced, married during the year, occupation, number of months unemployed.  On the second page are questions about Health that include sick or temporarily disabled on the day of the enumerators visit, blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled. Three questions are about Education: attended school within the year, cannot read, cannot write.  The last three questions deal with Nativity: place of birth for this person, place of birth for father, place of birth of mother. 1880 also has an Industrial and Mechanical Schedule, an Agricultural Schedule, and a Mortality Schedule.

There are several other schedules in the 1880 census.  Schedule #2 deals with the insane.  Schedule #3 has information on idiots.  There is a definition of the word idiot:  “The word “idiot” has a special meaning which it is essential for every enumerator to know. An idiot is a person the development of whose mental facilities was arrested in infancy or childhood before coming to maturity. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the stupidity which results from idiocy and that which is due to the loss or deterioration of mental power in consequence of insanity. The latter is not true idiocy, but dementia or imbecility.”  Schedule #4 is for deaf-mutes.  Schedule #5 is for the blind.  Schedule #6 is for homeless children.  Schedule #7 gives information about prisoners.  Schedule #7a is for paupers and the indigent. 

Much of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire. The only records available for the 1890 census are part of Perry County, Alabama; part of the District of Columbia; Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia; Mound Township, McDonough County, Illinois; Rockford, Wright County, Minnesota; Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey; part of Westchester and Suffolk County, New York; part of Gaston and Cleveland counties in North Carolina; Cincinnati, Hamilton County and part of Clinton County, Ohio; Jefferson Township, Union County, South Dakota; and part of Ellis, Hood, Rusk, Trinity, and Kaufman counties in Texas.  1890 has a Veterans Schedule.

The 1900 census has a lot of information that can be gleaned.  Columns are headed: street, house number, dwelling number, family number, name, relation to head of family, color, sex, month of birth, year of birth, age, single, married, widowed, or divorced, number of years married, mother of how many children, number of these children living, place of birth, place of birth of father, place of birth of mother, year of immigration, attended school (months), can read, can write, can speak English, home owned or rented, home owned free or mortgaged, farm or house.  1900 also has a Special Inquiries Relating to Indians.

The 1910 census is two pages.  The headings are street name, house number, visitation number, family number, name, relation to head of house, sex, race, age, single, married, widowed, or divorced, number of years present marriage, number of children born to this mother, number of these children living, place of birth of this person, place of birth of father, place of birth of mother.  Page two has name, year of immigration, naturalized or alien, native language, trade or profession, nature of business, employer, employee or self-employed, weeks out of work in 1900, able to read, able to write, attended school since September 1, 1900, home owned or rented, home owned free or mortgaged, farm or house, number of farm schedule, union or confederate veteran, blind, deaf and dumb.  1910 also has a Special Inquiries Relating to Indians.

The 1920 census is another gold mine of information in it’s two pages.  Headings for the first page are street or avenue, house number or farm, number of dwelling house, number of family, name, relationship to head of household, home owned or rented, if owned free or mortgaged, sex, color or race, single, married, widowed, death, year of immigration to the U.S., naturalized or alien, if naturalized–year of naturalization, attended school anytime since September 1, 1919, able to read, able to write.  The second page has name, place of birth, mother tongue, place of birth and mother tongue of father, place of birth and mother tongue of mother, able to speak English, trade or profession, industry, business or establishment in which at work, employer, salary or wage worker or working on own account, number of farm schedule.

The 1930 census has some interesting questions.  Headings include house number, number of dwelling, number of family, name, relationship to head of family, home owned or rented, value of home if owned or monthly rental if rented, radio set, does this family live on a farm, sex, color, age at last birthday, marital condition, age at first marriage, attended school or college at any time since September 1, 1929, whether able to read or write, place of birth of this person, place of birth of father.  Questions continue on page 2 and include name, place of birth of mother, language spoken in home before coming to United States, code, year of immigration to the United States, naturalization, whether able to speak English, occupation, industry, code, class or worker, whether actually at work yesterday or the last regular working day, if not at work–line number on unemployment schedule, veteran of U.S. Military or naval forces, number of farm schedule.

The farm schedules and unemployment schedules mentioned in the census cannot be located except for the farm schedules for Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico.  These are in the process of being microfilmed. The Supplemental Indian Schedules were destroyed. The codes mentioned in the census were for internal use and were used to create statistics.  They do not provide any additional information.

The 1940 census is the last census we have available.  The census records are released every 72 years, so it will be April 2022 before the 1950 census will be released.  Page 1 of this census shows house number, number of household in order of visitation, home owned or rented, value of home or monthly rent if rented, farm (yes or no), name, relationship to head of household, code, sex, color or race, age at last birthday, marital status, attended school or college at any time since March 1, 1940, highest grade of school completed, code, place of birth, code, citizenship, residence on April 1, 1935.  The bottom half of this page has 14 questions on the employment status of persons 14 years of age and over. Page 2 has place of birth for father and mother, code, mother tongue, code, 4 questions are for veterans, 3 questions on social security for persons 14 years of age and over, occupation, industry, usual class of worker, code, and the last 3 questions are for women. For an explanation of the codes used in this census check out the work of Stephen P. Morse, PhD and Joel D. Weintraub, PhD.

Just a word about searching through the census online–use various spellings of your name.  My maiden name is Fortner but the name has been spelled Falkner, Faulkner, or Forkner by other relatives.  In census records the name can be spelled Falkenor, Falckner, Falconer, Falkiner. My pioneer ancestor is Nathan Fortner.  He is found in the 1830 census under the name Authan Fertner. Soundex indexes came into use because of the widespread misspelling of names.  Your library should have a Soundex index. For instructions on how to use the Soundex, check out this article by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright.

Come back next week when we will delve further into ways to research your family.  If you should have questions, just ask or you can leave a comment.

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All Rights Reserved for Original Contributor

 

Census Records

Census Records

After you’ve gotten all the information you can from your relatives, census records are good source of information on your ancestors. There are several places where you can view census records. One is ancestry.com.  Using ancestry requires that you have a membership to ancestry, except for the 1880 and 1940 census which are free to view. Some libraries have memberships to Ancestry and Heritage Quest.  If your library has a membership, then you can view these records for free at the library.    

Another source for census records is familysearch.org. These records are free to view.  All you need to do is set up a free account. 

Census records can also be viewed at genealogybank.com.  There is a fee for membership.

The first federal census was done in 1790 and a census has been done every 10 years thereafter. Much of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire. The only records available for the 1890 census are part of Perry County, Alabama; part of the District of Columbia; Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia; Mound Township, McDonough County, Illinois; Rockford, Wright County, Minnesota; Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey; part of Westchester and Suffolk County, New York; part of Gaston and Cleveland counties in North Carolina; Cincinnati, Hamilton County and part of Clinton County, Ohio; Jefferson Township, Union County, South Dakota; and part of Ellis, Hood, Rusk, Trinity, and Kaufman counties in Texas.

When looking at census records be sure you look at all the headings or you may miss some important information.  Following are blank census forms so that you can see what kind of information is available. These forms come from The National Archives and Records Administration.  Please feel free to copy these forms to use in your research.  You will want to keep up with the Township or City, the county, the state, the page number and the Enumeration District (ED) to use as your source for this information.

The 1790 census has the name of the head of household and ages for all free white males age 16 and up and free white males under age 16, number of females and the number of other persons and slaves. This form was not printed by the federal government so the information may vary from one ED to another.

The 1800 census has much the same information except that the ages are now divided into free white males under 10, free white males 10-15, free white males 16-25, free white males 26-44, and free white males age 45 and over.  There are similar columns for the ages of free white females. The last three columns are for other persons, slaves and remarks. Only the name of the head of household is given and as with the 1790 census, this form was not preprinted by the government so information may vary from place to place.

The 1810 census uses the same form as the 1800 census.  Again, only the name of the head of household is given and the form was not preprinted.  

The 1820 census consists of two pages. It was not preprinted and only the name of the head of household is given.  The ages of free white males are given up to age 10, ages 10-15, age 16-18, age 16-25 including heads of households, ages 26-44, and age 45 and up.  Free white females are counted using the same age categories. The second page includes columns for foreigners not naturalized, persons engaged in agriculture, persons engaged in commerce, persons engaged in manufacturing, male slaves up to age 14, males slaves ages 14-25, male slaves age 26-44, male slaves age 45 and over, female slaves, free colored persons male, free colored persons female are counted using the same age brackets, and the last column is for other persons.

The 1830 census was the first to be preprinted by the government so the information should be standard for all areas.  Only the head of household is listed by name. The age brackets have again been expanded to under 5, ages 5-9, ages 10-14, ages 15-19, ages 20-29, ages 30-39, ages 40-49, ages 50-59, ages 60-69, ages 70-79, ages 80-89, ages 90-99, and ages 100 and upwards.  Free white persons male and females are counted on page 1. On the second page, slaves, both males and females, and free colored persons, both male and female are counted. The age brackets on this page are under 10, age 10-23, age 24-35, age 35-54, age 55-99, and age 100 and upwards.  The last 9 columns are for free white persons, slaves, and colored people who are deaf or dumb under the age of 14, age 14-24, age 25 and upwards and for white persons, slaves, or colored persons who are blind. 

The 1840 census is similar to the 1830 census.  This is the last time that only the head of household will be listed.

The 1850 census is the first to list every member of the family.  The headings for this census are name, age, sex, color, occupation, value of real estate owned, place of birth, married within the year, at school within the last year, persons over 20 years of age who cannot read and write, and the last column is deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict. 

The 1850 census also has a Slave Schedule.  The headings are name of slave owner, number of slaves, age, sex, color, fugitives from the state, number manumitted, deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic.

In addition to population schedules, there are also non-population schedules.  1850 has an Agricultural Census.

1850 and 1860 have a Mortality Schedule and an Industrial and Manufactures Schedule.

The 1860 census is similar to the 1850 census. There is also a Slave Schedule.  An extra column has been added entitled number of slave house.  1860 also has an Agricultural Census.

The 1870 census has columns for names, age, sex, color, occupation, value of real estate, value of personal estate, place of birth, father foreign born, mother foreign born, if born within the year state the month, if married within the year state the month, attended school within the year, cannot read, cannot write, deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.  The last two questions are on the topic of Constitutional Relations. Special instructions to the enumerators are on the back of the census. The first question is male citizens of the U.S. of 21 years of age and upwards. And the second question is male citizens of 21 years of age and upwards where rights to vote is denied on other grounds than rebellion or other crimes.  1870 has a Mortality Schedule, an Agricultural Census, and an Industrial and Manufactures Schedule.

Any library with a genealogy department should have books by state with census records and non-population schedules.  These libraries may also have census records on microfilm.

Come back next week when we will again be discussing census records.

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Connecting With Family

Connecting With Family

After you have all the information on yourself and your parents, it’s time to go visit your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  For years I took my research to family reunions to show to other family members. A family reunion is a good place for people to talk about their memories from childhood.  You can learn a lot from older family members. Family reunions are also a good place to exchange post office addresses and email addresses.

My cousins became very interested and wanted to research their branch of the family.  We all got ancestry memberships so that we could share our research. This was a good way for us to share photos and documents.  When I started researching my family, the only way to share information was to find a xerox machine, copy all the documents and pictures, and take a large envelope to the post office.  Email was a godsend because copying and mailing was costly.

Cousins are a wealth of information. When I went to visit my mother’s nephew, he had an entire book that he shared with me on the history of his branch of the family.  He had traveled to Missouri and Illinois to talk to family members and search for documents.  In exchange for his help, I provided information about me, my children, and my siblings. 

Now, a word about all those pieces of information that we discussed in the last post:  the ones that you do not understand. In the paper bag of information that my mother left with my brother there was the name and address of one of Mama’s cousins.  I had never heard the name and didn’t know why she would have their address. When I contacted them, they were just getting ready to retire and travel the U.S.A.  One of their stops was the Stuttgart Agricultural Museum in Stuttgart, Arkansas.  My mother had donated her father’s prayer book to that museum. My grandmother’s family was one of the early settlers of Stuttgart and the museum had some mementos from her family. They also had an old phone book where I was able to look up the address of their residence, the name of both husband and wife, their occupation and their employer.  This same information can be found at the library–just ask for a city directory.    

I drove to Stuttgart and met my cousins at the museum. There we exchanged photos and they gave me pages of their research on my grandmother’s family, as far back as 1625. I also bought a book from the museum that has a lot of information on my grandmother’s family. My cousins went through the museum’s unknown photo drawer and were able to identify several of those photos.

While I was in Stuttgart, I decided to go by the Lone Tree Cemetery where my grandmother was buried.  The cemetery was a wealth of information since family members are usually buried together. From the headstones I was able to get birth dates, death dates, and the names of spouses.  So, a trip to the cemetery is well worth the time and travel that it will take. Be sure to take pictures of the headstones to use as your source for names, birth dates, and death dates.  Also keep up with the name of the cemetery and the city, county, and state where the cemetery is.

Every year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day my father’s side of the family has a memorial service.  They put flowers on the graves and reminisce about the family members that have passed on. Then they gather for lunch.  I wouldn’t give anything for the time I spent there with my relatives. I was able to get a lot of information from my cousin at the cemetery.  She gave me a book written about the church my family attended when they first came into the county. One of my relatives had been a pastor and another relative was the church clerk.  I discovered that I am related to almost everyone in the cemetery in one way or another.  

After the cemetery visit, another cousin invited me to her house for lunch.  The food was exceptional and after we ate we talked more about family history.

Then on Mother’s Day, my grandmother’s side of the family spends time in the cemetery where her ancestors are buried.  The cemetery is across from the church (they used to be side by side until Highway 82 was redirected.)  Then we gather at the church for the service and dinner on the grounds. For those of you not old enough to remember dinner on the grounds it means we all bring a dish to share and eat in the fellowship hall of the church.  (It’s called dinner on the grounds because before air conditioning, we used to eat on a picnic table under a big shade tree.)  My cousin’s watermelon rind pickles are so good I got the recipe from her so that I could make my own. On the wall of the fellowship hall hangs a document stating that my great-grandfather and his brother donated the lumber to build the church.  They owned a sawmill.

My grandmother’s family meets again later in the year for a family reunion at the country club and as usual the food and fellowship cannot be beat.

Never underestimate the power of a cousin.  They are a wealth of information.

Come back next week when we will discuss census records.

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How Do I Start Researching My Family

How Do I Start Researching My Family

When I worked at the Memphis library as a volunteer in the genealogy department people would often ask me, “How do I get started.”  This is my answer.

Start with what you know.  Start with your full name, your birthday, city, county, and state where you were born, when and where you were baptised, date and place of your marriage, name of your spouse, and any other information you would like to include.

Below is a link to the form I like to use for this purpose.  This form is provided by ancestry.

Family Group Record

Next, record the same information for your spouse and children.  Keep up with the source of all your information. For this family group sheet your source would be “personal knowledge”.  This doesn’t seem so important now, but later you’ll be glad you kept up with this information. Below is a link to a form provided by ancestry for keeping this information.

Source Summary

Just because I like a particular form doesn’t mean you have to use it too. 

Below is a link to an ancestral chart provided by ancestry. I prefer the family group sheet because it gives me more room to write.

Ancestry Chart

Below is a link to an individual worksheet provided by Midwest Genealogy Center.  Again, I like this one because it gives plenty of space for writing.

Individual Worksheet

After you have recorded all your information, go back one generation and record all that you know about your parents.  

When I started to research my family, I sat down with Daddy and asked him about his family.  Both his great-grandfathers served in the Civil War. Daddy had many fascinating stories to tell about their service as well as his own service in WWII.  He also had many cool stories about his great-grandmothers. Record every story that you find because the stories will make your history come to life rather than just being a list of names, dates, and places.  

I couldn’t ask my mother about her family because she had already passed away.  My brother told me that she had left some of her family history in a paper grocery bag.  He gave the bag to me and as I went through it I found the birthdates and death dates for her mother and father, as well as her father’s full name and her mother’s maiden name.  I also found some things that I did not understand. Hold on to the pieces you don’t understand. They may be just the puzzle piece you are looking for later on.

Come back next week for the next installment of “How Do I Get Started?”

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