Tips for Research
I've gotten numerous requests for guidance in researching
ancestors. The following list is where I'd begin my research:
Talk to everyone in your family about what they know about the ancestors, keeping
in mind that memories can fade and that some of their information is inaccurate.
(Great Grandma was a full-blooded Indian or we came over on the Mayflower are
two examples of information that is said over & over that is usually not true.)
Write down what you've found out. Buy or download a free genealogy program to
organize your information. Brother's Keeper is shareware and can be downloaded
for free. Using a computer program all of your information is organized and
can be emailed to someone easily.
Use ALL types of spellings when you look for records. Many times the spelling
changed (Hawley to Holley) or the person writing down the information had trouble
deciphering the script. Sometimes names are spelled so "screwy" that your best
bet is just to go through the pages. The "s" looks like "f" in some old script,
so Smith could look like Fith to a beginning transcriber.
Use the search engine on this web and others to locate surnames.
Post a query on the query board. There are a number of different query boards
including Surname Boards -Gen Forum & County Boards. (They're listed in the
Join the email list and ask questions about your ancestors there.
Check census records in the county and in surrounding counties. The 1850 census
records begin listing all of the family members and where each was born.
Check the Cemetery records.
Check the funeral home listings. Many times people did not have money to buy
a tombstone, but their remains were handled by an undertaker.
Check the local Genealogy Library to see if they have any biographical information
on the family you are searching for.
Check the birth, death and marriage records. Those may list parents names, etc.
Get copies of these records by ordering them from the appropriate source.
Check the old newspapers in the library. You may also write one of the libraries
to see if your family member's name is listed in any index they may have of
old newspapers. (Sometimes people have done abstracts of old newspapers and
have made an index of the names they've found.)
If the ancestor was in the Civil War, order the records! They have a great deal
of information in them!
Don't take every piece of information someone sends you as gospel! Ask for sources!
Verify information! Have an open mind! YOU could be mistaken!