Kids & Parenting

Genealogy research for beginners

By Matt Williamson
Info Guru,

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Make your connection to the past with genealogy
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Genealogy research can lead you to a rich discovery of your family history and heritage. Learning about your family can truly change your life in a rewarding way. The following is a guide to genealogy research for beginners.

Ask Your Relatives

Genealogy research for beginners can start simply: speak with your parents. Ask about the birth and death of their parents and any relevant information they may have regarding their ancestors. Your parents may also know where their parents married, if their fathers served in a war or any other information relating to your genealogy research. Contact other family members to ask if they have made any progress in their genealogy research. See if you can help them fill in the holes that they could not.

Find Photos

Ask to see any family photos and make photocopies. Photography stores can also create a negative from a photograph for a fee if you would like to keep track of photographs with the negatives.

Record Voices

Bring a recording device. Visit your oldest living relatives and ask them about your family history. Recording the conversation will take your focus off taking notes and allow you to enjoy the visit.

Surf the Web

Once you have obtained information from your family, turn to research methods that other genealogists utilize. The Internet is a popular resource. Try searching for your surname and your mother's maiden name. The U.S. government provides census records online from the late 1700s to the early 1900s.

Educate Yourself

Consider taking a class or workshop in genealogy to take your research to the next level. Classes can often be found at a local historical society. Check your county's Web site to see if a local historical site is listed. Joining a historical society can also help you with your research.

Organize Your Research

Make sure that you save your research in a well-organized fashion so you can find documents, photos and other information easily. A photo box can be used to store your photos and a binder can be used to store your written information. The key is creating a system that works for you and that you can allow you to continue to add more information.

As you reach milestones and special events, be sure to record them so future genealogists in your family will have this important information. Doing genealogy research is a great family project and will certainly bring you closer together as a family.

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