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Awesome Genealogical Tips

Below are a few guidelines on how to begin to research your family tree.

We hope this Awesome Genealogy tips list will be useful to you!

Basic Tips
  1. Talk to your parents, find out where they grew up,(town, county, state) grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins in your family. Ask them birth dates, marriage dates, who the person married, death dates.
  2. Ask them about where their parents, or grandparents are buried.
  3. Ask if any of your relatives have previously done any genealogy research.
  4. Find out who are your oldest living relatives, visit them and record your conversation with them.
  5. Send for copies of birth certificates on individuals.
  6. Send for copies of marriage certificates. These show ages, parents, witnesses and other important information.
  7. Send for copies of death certificates. These show death dates, birth dates, parents and cause of death.
  8. Go to your local newspaper and get copies of birth, marrage, and obituary notices. Obituary notices are a wealth of knowledge.
  9. Look for church records on your family. Baptismal, Marriage, Membership, etc.
  10. Go to the local cemeteries that you know and record all info on the tombstones. Look for other people with the same surname, they could be related.
  11. Look for Census records. Begin with the 1930 Census and work backwards. Census records have been taken since 1790 in the US. Some libraries and historical societies have census records on microfilm at their branches. The U.S. Government Federal records center has all census records from 1790- 1930.
  12. Visit your local family history center. These records are probably the best available.
  13. Go to your local library or historical society. They should be able to point you in the right direction to research areas that you have found from your interviews and census records.
  14. Go to the Court House and look for deeds, wills, voters records etc.
  15. Search the internet for your surnames. You will most likly find others doing research on the same lines.
  16. Visit the US GenWeb Project for your area.
  17. Join your local Genealogy or Historical Society, State Societies can also be a lot of help in your research.
Intermediate Tips

  1. Write everything down as you find it. Information on your family tree will grow quickly and if you want to avoid errors you should write things down as you discover them.
  2. Don't use your own abbreviations. Use standard ones such as b for born, d for died and m for married.
  3. Always record your sources. Include the name, location and date of the source, as well as the date you discovered it.
  4. Keep a copy of any letters you send out or receive. You may need to refer to them later, as well, it's a handy way of ensuring you don't write the same people twice accidently.
  5. When recording dates, use the full date such as 10 April 1645 rather than 10/4/45.
International Tips

  1. Always see what records are available in your country first, before checking the records of a foreign country.
  2. Surnames change over time and this is especially true for ones which can be traced to Europe. For example the surname "Gilman" could also appear in records as Gillman, Gilmann, Gilmen, Gileman and so on.
  3. Borders changed much over the years in Europe especially. Be aware of this when tracing your origins and determining which country it is you need to correspond with.
  4. Be aware of and ready for linguistic differences. Our FREE international form letters are available to you in French, German and Spanish. We also suggest viewing our FREE translation guide of key words you may need when writing the letters.


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