Genealogy (from Greek: γενεά, genea, "generation"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge"), also known as family history, is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.Tools Needed: Books:Family history detective : a step-by-step guide to investigating your family historyby Allen, Desmond Walls.Family history 101 : a beginner's guide to finding your ancestorsby Melnyk, Marcia Yannizze, 1951-First steps in genealogy: a beginner's guide to researching your family historyby Allen, Desmond Walls.Genealogy 101 : how to trace your family's history and heritageby Renick, Barbara, 1950-Unpuzzling your past : the best-selling basic guide togenealogyby Croom, Emily Anne, 1943-Genealogy for the first time : research your family historyBy Best, LauraFinding your roots : easy-to-do genealogy and family historyby Schultz, Janice Lindgren.
Basic Forms you need:Ancestral Charts (4 or 5 generation)Family Record Sheets (one for each family unit)Research LogCensus Checklist
Not wise to try to do everyone at the same time. Learning the local history is especially important in getting clues as to why your family picked a certain place. If you are researching a foreign county, check to see if there was civil unrest, wars with other countries, crop failures, religious persecution etc.
Prior to commercial genealogy software, everyone used the binder system. We would have a separate binder for each family name. In many respects, this was a great way to keep everything together – vital records, correspondence, as well as group sheets. If you do choose to use paper records, please take time out to read Bill Dollarhide’sManaging a Genealogical Project before you begin. Today, more and more information is being loaded onto computers for ease of use and portability. Handheld scanners may be used to scan in photos, vital records and other documents.
U.S. Censuses started in 1790 as a way to target individuals to help repay to American Revolution. From 1790 through 1840, only the names of the Heads of Household were given. Others living in the house were designated by hash marks. Starting in 1850, everyone in the household was listed by name. The 1890 Census was partially destroyed by a fire in the Commerce Dept. building in 1921. (Other parts had been damaged in a fire in 1896 at the Dept. of Interior Bldg.)The morning after was an archivist's nightmare, with ankle-deep water covering records in many areas. Although the basement vault was considered fireproof and watertight, water seeped through a broken wired-glass panel in the door and under the floor, damaging some earlier and later census schedules on the lower tiers. The 1890 census, however, was stacked outside the vault and was, according to one source, "first in the path of the firemen."(11) That morning, Census Director Sam Rogers reported the extensive damage to the 1890 schedules, estimating 25 percent destroyed, with 50 percent of the remainder damaged by water, smoke, and fire.(12) Salvage of the watersoaked and charred documents might be possible, reported the bureau, but saving even a small part would take a month, and it would take two to three years to copy off and save all the records damaged in the fire. The preliminary assessment of Census Bureau Clerk T. J. Fitzgerald was far more sobering. Fitzgerald told reporters that the priceless 1890 records were "certain to be absolutely ruined. There is no method of restoring the legibility of a water-soaked volume."(13)
You may also find Naturalization Depositions, also known as affidavits of witnesses - - normally two witnesses who could attest to the length of residence of the applicant in the U.S. These were submitted at the time the Petition for Naturalization was filed. These depositions contain the name and address of the witness; name and residence of the applicant; statement of length of residence for applicant, and a statement of the applicant’s character.The Petition for Naturalization were sent to the court to petition to grant citizenship. They should show where the declaration of intention was filed, along with the applicant’s name, current residence, occupation, date of birth , port of entry and date of entry. Later Petitions include much more, such as physical descriptions and photographs (after 1940).
2013 introduction to genealogy
Plymouth District Library
What is genealogy?
What tools will I need?
Which books should I read?
The great document search
begins … often with your
Birth & death
Marriage / divorce
Journals or diaries
Old scrapbooks / photo
Memorial or prayer
Old address books
School & church records
1. After filling in your pedigree chart, look at the
2. Decide which branch is your focus– and who to
start looking for first.
3. Analyze the information you have, and
brainstorm ways to get what you will need.
4. Get a map and a history book relating to the
area you are researching. Read for background
Court-Martial Cases &
Prisoners of War
Casualties & Deaths
Censuses of Veterans
1820-1890 – Customs
Passenger Lists for US
1891-1954 – Immigration
Ship Passenger Lists.
Many Indexes for
Baltimore, Boston, New
Orleans, New York City,
Philadelphia & some
was a 2-step process that
took at least 5 years.
File 1st papers
(Declaration of Intent)
after 2 years of residence.
Petition for Naturalization
after an additional 3 years.
Full name of your
2. Approximate age at
arrival in America
3. Approximate date of
arrival in America
Must be used in
Both pre 1820 &
Info also taken
National Archives –
AAD web site
Choose “genealogy” &
then “passenger lists.”
Have both name files
and ship files
Derivative citizenship granted to wives and minor
children of naturalized men. From 1790 – 1922,
wives of naturalized men automatically became
In 1922, women who were 21 years of age and older
were entitled to citizenship. Residency requirement
to file a declaration of intention was waived.
From 1824 to 1906, minor aliens who had lived in
the US five years before their 23rd birthday could file
both their declarations & petitions at the same time.
With the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868,
African Americans automatically became citizens.
Special Consideration given to veterans – After 1862,
any veteran could become a citizen after having been
here only 1 year. (1918 law allowed over 192,000
aliens from WW I to become citizens immediately
after serving in the War.)
The Citizen Act of 1924 provided that all “non-citizen
Indians born within the territorial limits of the
United States” be citizens.
No uniform standards for amount or type of
information asked on Naturalization Records.
No special place to store these records – could be in
any court of record, in libraries, archives – or
Very little biographical information found in these
After Sept. 27,1906
Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization
required standardized forms including age,
occupation, personal description, date & place
of birth, citizenship, present & last foreign
addresses, ports of embarkation & entry, name
of vessel and date of arrival in US.
Duplicate copies of these forms were sent to
Bureau of Naturalization in Washington DC & a
third copy kept in naturalizing court. (Original
went to citizen.)
30 public land states created from public
All states west of Mississippi River except
Texas & Hawaii
States created from old Northwest Territory
and old Spanish & Indian Lands
Lineage books from patriotic societies – ie.
Compiled biographies based on state or region –
ie First Settlers of New England
Compiled biographies based on religious or
ethnic groups – ie. Quakers, Palatines
Histories of towns,
Local and state historical museums & societies
Family History Libraries (LDS)
Burton Historical Collection (DPL)
Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, IN)
National Archives / Library of Congress
Know the basics before you go online – then
continue to practice the same rules of evidence that
apply for print resources!
Verify, Verify, Verify !!
See if the state/county/city you are researching has
mounted vital records online.
Come to next week’s presentation to learn about
commercial subscriptions, important free sites,
social networking and more!
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24th at 7:00 PM