Getting Started in Family History

Despite what we are told in advertising, researching and discovering your family history involves more than just entering a name in an online search box. Following a few basic research methods and becoming more familiar with the various types of records often used in family history research will help you to be more successful in your research, and to avoid mistakes. We’re here to help you get off to a good start in your research, and to help you get past those “brick walls” when you get stuck.

How to Get Started:

10 Ways to Preserve Your Family History:¬†¬†Even for those that don’t wish to become genealogy researchers, there are simple steps that can be taken to make sure that family heritage and stories are preserved for future generations instead of being lost.

Getting Started in Family History:   A short, step-by-step outline for how to research your family history.

Midwest Genealogy Center’s Getting Started helps – free guidance and materials from the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, MO.

Getting Started tips from the National Genealogical Society – more free tips and learning materials from NGS 

Free Forms & Worksheets:

  • Pedigree Chart – Use this chart to record your direct-line ancestors
  • Family Group Sheet – Complete one of these forms for each family group (husband, wife & children)
  • Family Record Sheet – this form is a hybrid, with a small pedigree chart and the family group sheet content
  • Individual Timeline – Use this worksheet to record all know events that occurred during and individual’s lifetime (starting with birth, ending with death), in chronological order. This is helpful in identifying gaps or inconsistencies in research data.
  • Individual Data Sheet –  Use this worksheet to record and summarize key facts about an individual. It may be helpful in keeping information organized, and in identifying gaps that need further research.
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