What do you need to start?• Names of parents & grandparents• Birth dates/places• Marriage date/place• Death date/place (if applicable)• Names of siblings & their relative ages• Places these people may have lived
Where do I find this information?• Ask family members what they know• Look at the family Bible or other documents• Listen to family stories• Look at family photographs
Have info, now what?• What do you do with the information you get?• Decide how to record it – Paper forms – Computer software • Legacy (Free) • Family Tree Maker (pay) – Websites • Ancestry.com • RootsWeb.com
Starting Your ResearchPrint Resources Digital Resources• Family Bible • Ancestry.com• Historical Society – Some features are free, others require subscriptions• Public Library (TSCPL has a LibraryEdition)• Newspapers • FamilySearch.org • HeritageQuest – Online census records. Can be accessed for free from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library with your library card.
How do I search?Start with one family member for whom you knowa name, a date (birth, marriage or death) and onelocation they lived
How do I evaluate search results?
Look at the index …
… and the image
Types of Records to look for• Census• Vital Records• Obituaries & newspaper articles• Cemetery stones• City directories & phone books• Photos
More records …• Immigration• Court records• Land records
… and even more records• Military • School• Church • Business
I have lots of information. Now what?• Organize your information – on paper or on-line• Find ways to pass it on – blog, write a book, make a scrapbook, send out a family newsletter, tell stories, etc.
I found the easy stuff, what’s next?• Family History Library in Salt Lake City• Courthouses & micro-local resources• Classes & Conferences (Topeka Genealogical Society, Mid-West Genealogy Center, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research)• Hire an expert. Association of Professional Genealogists
Now Have Fun• This is only the tip of the iceberg.• Genealogy can be lots of fun and lots of work.• You might find evidence to support some family stories, or learn that others were just ‘tall tales’.