Looking for Your Family

Are you interested in finding out your family history but do not know where to turn. Is this your first time researching your family tree and digging into your roots? Here are some helpful guidelines for you.

A great place to start is the family Bible. Many people used their Bible to record births, deaths, marriages and other information. Some even used the margins to leave wonderful little tidbits and others even stuck in old letters and notes among the pages. These are treasure troves I love to find. My family Bible had a lot of information inside and this spring I will be heading to Germany and will try to find both my grandparents’ Bible.

Find a genealogy program online. Archives is a site to help you get started, they have a list of some freebies. Go ahead and try one or two out and get comfortable with it. Remember this is going to be your lifeline so you definitely went to give a lot of thought to this. Another route to go is look at paid software and download a trial version. Most software programs have this option, however, one word of warning, make sure there is a general format that you can export to, like Gedcom, so if you do go with another software program you can easily import all your information. There is nothing worse then to use a propriety software and not be able to put your information elsewhere. If you want to switch programs you will have to manually enter all the information.

You can start entering information that you know and from  your family Bible. Also, talk to your relatives and ask some questions about family members. The best thing is take a tape recorder/digital recorder with you. The information you gather here can be invaluable, and also a precious memory to have for yourself and later generations – the voice of a distant relative talking about their family history. Enter this information into your program.

If you don’t want to bother with a software program for now you can download numerous different charts and record pages online. Cindi’s List has been around for many years and is a wonderful genealogy site with tons of information. On their page they have a site for free printable charts and forms. To start with I would suggest downloading and printing the Family Data Sheet. This is a great place to get started.

Okay, now you have some information to go on and continue on with your digging. All this information is what is considered unverified and now you need to start finding sources and put these citations with corresponding family members. A good place to start that has free searches is the Family Search site. Start by creating an account for yourself, this is a free service so there is no obligation on your end.

Now go ahead test it for yourself, click on the link and put in Thomas as the first name and Miller as the last, then click on Residence and type in New York. See the huge list you get. You can also streamline your search by clicking on the box below that says Filter Your Results by… You can save your results by clicking on the upper right hand side for Shoebox, Copy or Print. If you are logged in with your new credentials Family Search will keep everything for you in one place – the Shoebox. This way if you ever need to come back to your information just hover your mouse over My Source Box and click on Go To My Source Box and all your saved results will appear there.

Go ahead and play around, gather some information. Next we will talk about organizing tips for your paperwork and computer.

Happy Digging!


About Cathy von Hassel-Davies

I am a German born Yankee living under Carolina blue and loving it.
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