3 people found this helpful
Begin by talking to all your older relatives. They are a treasure trove of information, and they’re usually quite happy that someone will listen to them talking about ‘’the old days.” They will give you lots of names that will help you begin to fill in your tree. They’ll tell you who was born when and where, when and where they died, among other things.
Once you have this information in hand you’ll probably want to start going through microfilmed census records. You can usually get these through a local library, or through the various genealogy membership websites that are now online.This will help to confirm information you’ve gathered on who was born when, and where they lived at various times. This will eventually lead you to things like military records, school records, etc. As you begin this journey, come back here as often as necessary to ask us questions, and we’ll be more than happy to help you.
1 person found this helpful
Absolutely good advice to start with your oldest living relatives, and ask around..you may have cousins already dong research who can help you get started.
I also want to remind people who are just starting out with their family history research that many public libraries have access to the library version of Ancestry.com and other genealogy programs. Librarians can help get you started. Just exploring the programs on your own can help you understand ways to look for information and you can save notes and documents such as the census, birth and death records on a "thumb drive" to bring home and examine later.
My strongest caution would be to make sure you understand what is and is not "proof" when you are documenting your research. A birth record using a full name with the correct parents and siblings, living in the right area at the right time is good proof. Records that include some or most of these may count as "pretty good" proof, but subject to reconsideration or corroboration later. A marriage record with the correct names and dates is pretty good proof, but many people had the same names. A marriage certificate where the known brother of the groom was the one who posted the bond or the known parents of the bride were witnesses is even better. Save the actual document and also the location online where you found it. Sometimes you will find a distant cousin who has these things listed and posted in their research or family tree. You can then note where they found it go and look for the same proof to use as part of your tree. You can also contact the distant cousin (the really fun and gratifying part of genealogy) and collaborate to verify your family tree. People sometimes do not cite proof and just copy other people's unproven research. You will find many examples of this and do not fall into this trap. Make a note for checking it out later, keep the information you suspect may be true in your notes...but do not post it as fact until you independently verify it.
Enjoy your research, finding new cousins and hearing their stories.