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10 Steps in Genealogy Research | Steps One – Five

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    Last Updated: August 24th, 2008

    11 Steps in Genealogy Research |Steps One Through FiveThere are with most kinds of research, certain steps that you can follow that have proven to make it more easily accomplished and easier to organize the information that you find.

    Genealogy research is no different than other types of knowledge acquisition in that you will find it is easier to progress by following certain procedures and moving from there into another step.

    A reasonable progression of your research will usually take in ten steps, although some of them, like anything else, won’t be necessary in some cases and you may find that you have to add one or two in order to dig through all the clues you find in other cases.

    • Go Backward not forward: Your family tree search is going to go faster if you work your way back in time as opposed to trying it in the opposite direction. Although it sounds common sense, you’d be surprised at how many beginning genealogists ask what century they should begin with. The answer is always, THIS ONE!! Working from yourself,backward in time is going to be a thousand percent more effective and more easily accomplished, since you usually will know your parents names and birthdays and have some information to work with.
    • Search for Ancestors at OneGreatFamily.com

    • Obituaries are great information: Seeking out any information that you have on recently deceased relatives will help you immensely to get exact dates of marriage or birth or even just the names of the grandparents, and from there, you can move to their parents. The obituaries in the newspapers, many of which you can find in their archives, will offer more information than just the persons name, but usually the birth date as well as relatives they left behind that you may be able to get additional information from
    • Seek out and use Death Indexes. One of the best you will find is also free. The Social Security Death Index is a good place to start your search. It will give you information such as their last known residence, the zip code of the place where they died, date of birth, date of death and a lot more information that can prove extremely useful to you. There are also other major indexes that will offer you information on deaths in the US or various states. Google is going to be one of your major helpmates in your search for your ancestors. Googling the name or the terms death index may just lead you straight forward to one of your family members that you can glean other information from. Make sure that you also research more distant family members, rather than just immediate ones such as sisters or brothers or parents. The other members of your family tree will be equally as helpful in gathering information on ancestors that are a bit further up on the ancestral chart.
    • Online Cemetery Records Thinking along the same lines, stay with the death theme, however morbid you may find it for the moment. Cemetery records are online now in a vast number of areas and most of the larger cemeteries will have a map of the plots as well as who is buried within them. In most cases this has been done by volunteers and some even include images of the cemetery plot in question, so that you can see the burial area. One good place to start with that is Root Web, where you can find links to online cemetery transcriptions and check out individual cemeteries. Failing that, again Google will be a good source of help. Simply input your family surname and seek out death notices, cemetery plots or even obituaries.
    • Go to the Census: Now that you’ve tracked the tree back to perhaps the beginning of this century, you will be able to use some of what you have and move to the census. The last one to come out was the 1930 census, which is available online free of charge for you to walk through. You should in all likelihood be able to find your parents and or grandparents in that census, and the information it offers will tell you your grandparents or parents siblings as well as other information such as where they lived, when your parents or grandparents were married or other interesting facts, depending on the year of the census, and what questions were asked.

    Now that you have some kind of information to go on, its time to move backward still further and take the next steps to flesh out and organize an actual family tree.

    My Ancestry Guide - The Complete Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry

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