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How to begin genealogy or back to basic family history

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Are you new to genealogy or want to plan your family history research? This “how to” article will offer suggestions to make your research time more productive. Remember, genealogy is always a work in progress!

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Questions to think about:

  • Why? Why do you want to search for information – do you what to know who you are or where your family came from?
  • How? The information you already know, where did that information come from – family member, photographs, documents?
  • What is your goal? Your goal will focus your research – such as planning a family reunion the focus will be on photographs and family stories; if connecting with distant relatives, the focus may be DNA after you have written out lineal and collateral lines.
  • Where? Join a group such as Our Genealogy Group that meets monthly at Clayton State University, Morrow, GA. Sharing is one of the best ways to look at your information from another viewpoint.
  • Do NOT become overwhelmed – start slow – ask questions, understand the answers and ask more questions.

The following suggestions are from the Basic Genealogy DVD by Cathi Weber, NorthStar Genealogy:

  • Start with what you know and work backwards.
  • Document your sources.
  • Record types to look for include death, birth, probate, tax, land, marriage, census, military and more.
  • Try to find records as close to the event as possible
  • Missing information requires a blank as the open space draws eyes to what needs to be completed.

In this DVD, Cathi also introduces the new family historian to forms, time line, census summary, handwritten vs computer software, sources, evidence and evaluation.

Cathi ends her programs with “One hundred years from now, will anyone know who you were?”

Have you:

  • Organized your papers?
  • Entered ALL your data in a software program or on paper?
  • Cited your sources?

NOW you are ready to evaluate and plan new research.

Read more “how to” articles on What “how to” articles would be helpful? Contact Selma Blackmon with questions.



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