Steps to conducting family history research Organized by: Jessica Shultz Photo courtesy of: The genealogy tree webring
Step 1: Connect with family members Find out as much background knowledge as you can. Gather together all family history sources that exist within your personal residences. o Sources might include birth certificates, letters and family photographs. Actively engage in discussion with family members concerning family history, especially with elderly family members who can provide information on past generations. o Record all unknown and known information that is communicated. This will assist in present research and to preserve the accounts for the future.
Step 2: Organize Keep information organized by building genealogy charts. They will be vital prior to visiting family history centers or using online resources. As the research process progresses the chart will grow as older generations are added onto the charts.
Step 3: Utilize local resources Visit local genealogy centers and archives to get additional records such as census, birth, marriage, or death. The most important information to gather when beginning your search are the names of direct ancestors, including the maiden names of women, and dates and places of birth, marriage and death. Also, look for the places your ancestral families lived and the names of family members, such as the siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles of your ancestors, and religious affiliation and military service.
Step 4: Dig deeper. Ask distinct questions. Create a research planwith specific ideas aboutinformation you wouldlike to find during a visitto a genealogy center orarchives such as “I want tofind out when my great-grandfather John Jonesdied,” rather than “I wantto know everything aboutmy Jones family.” Photo courtesy of: Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library
Resources Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, Fort Wayne , IN http://www.genealogycenter.org/Pathfinders/GettingStarted.aspx The Genealogy Tree Webring http://www.thegenealogytree.com/webrings/about-the-genealogy-tree- webring.htm Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, Jonesboro, AR http://www.libraryinjonesboro.org/?q=node/21