07 September 2007

Finding Your Ancestors, Part I

Now the fun begins! Now that you have filled and organized your photos and documents putting together what you do know about your ancestors will be a great deal easier.

So lets get started. The first thing you will need to do is download and print several charts and forms for compiling your information. You need to write down everything you know about your family in an organized set of forms that will help you to start searching. Here are all the forms you will need:

Pedigree Charts

Family Group Sheet

These are the two main forms to get started. Grab a package of sharpened pencils and set down and fill in as much information as you can using the photos, documents and your memory. Now for some of you this will be easy and you will have a great deal of information to start off with. For others this may be more difficult.

Here are two more pieces to add to your arsenal of information gathering.

Family Interview Also on this site you will find other related articles to help you learn how to interview your family members in order to efficiently unlock the clues of the past.

Very Detailed Family Interview!

Interview as many relatives as you can about themselves and what they remember of the family. It's important to keep in mind that unless they are speaking of themselves consider the information just clues. Second hand accounts may be inaccurate.

Keep a log of your interviews and interview attempts. You may have some relatives resistant at this time, but when they realize the rest of the family is really getting into what you are doing and it gets exciting they may be willing to get involved later. So keep a log that you can go back to and try to revisit those relatives.

Correspondence Log This link will take you to a great article about maintaining a correspondence log. Also included in this article is another link to many other useful forms such as the ones above.

Keep in mind that you need to gather as much information as possible before you start your search. Your search will be a great deal easier if you gather information about relatives living in the 1930's and before. For me that was my grandparents, but where I had information on great grandparents my search became much easier.

The title of this page will take you to a website of someone I consider to be very helpful for the beginner. Emily Ann Croom is the author of Unpuzzling Your Past, a wonderful book. I bought her book of worksheets a while back and it has helped me to be even more efficient in my search. Take a moment to read some of her articles as well.

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