Through genealogy, you can understand the history of your family and the people you are related to. You can find out who they were and where they came from, and in some instances, what they did. By learning a few basics about genealogy searches, you can learn how to research your ancestor lines effectively and pass down history to your children and grandchildren. Consider these following six tips to get started on researching your family history.
Sketch Out Your Family Tree
The best place to start your family history is with your family tree. Jot down the information in a notebook as you get it or simplify the process and fill in your tree online through a website like Family Search or Ancestry. List the family members you know and insert birth dates, death dates, marriages and any other known information.
Talk to Other Family Members
For gaps in your tree or to fill in the information you're unsure of, talk to other family members who can provide more details. Ask relatives about nicknames, places lived and vital information. Family members can usually provide family Bibles, past letters, certifications and other important details.
Search Census Information
The United States Census Bureau publishes Census information to the general public 72 years after the Census Day. Currently, the 1940 census records are available online and the 1950 census will be available on April 2022. The census allows you to trace your parents and grandparents by name, age, birthplace, occupation, address and immigration status.
Choose One or Two Lines at a Time
Instead of trying to search your entire family at once, focus on gathering one line at a time. Through online research, family archives and family members and friends, gather as much information as possible before organizing your findings and adding it to your tree.
Choose popular genealogy websites like FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com and Archives.com to look through new resources, discover new services and consider the available options. Some services are only available for a fee, but there is a wealth of information available for free.
Consider a DNA Test
Look for online sites like 23andMe that offer a genetic kit that can lead you to places you've never considered for your family history. Other sites that offer similar services include AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA. Not only can you get a good idea of where you come from, but these kits can also give you information on medical predispositions.
At Bethesda Gardens in Terre Haute, IN, we offer a computer center for our community that provides the perfect place to perform your genealogy search. We also have many other amenities for our members.
Posted on Tue, September 17, 2019
by Shawn Deane