February 10, 2010
Here are some useful tips for doing genealogy research in Minnesota:
- Start with yourself: write down as many basic facts, e.g. full names and important dates, as you can think of for your immediate and extended family. just write them down from memory; don’t start calling people just yet. keep it all organized.
- Talk to your family (immediate and extended), friends and neighbors about your family. Be sure to get both basic and anecdotal data. use whatever method you and your interviewees are most comfortable with to get the data. some people clam up in front of video or audio recorders. continue to keep it all organized. yes, it must be emphasized after each step.
- Use a computer and log onto such free-access databases as those on the Minnesota Historical Society’s web site. The Minnesota Birth Index and the Minnesota Death Index are free and very helpful. from these sources, get the birth-related data you need, e.g. birth name, birth date, birth county and birth parents full names; also get the death-related data you need, e.g. full name, birth date, death date, county of death, and mother’s maiden name. get it all because it may come in handy later to fill in the blanks or to give you a hint where to look next. continue keeping it all organized; this will really be a benefit when you transfer all your data onto the software mentioned in step 4.
- Subscribe to Ancestry.com. Start with the U.S. only and to have the U.S. census data included. keep it better organized by buying Family Tree Maker software (get the latest version) from Ancestry.com after you get buy a subscription. this will be cheaper than just buying it off the street. then, load your data onto your new Family Tree Maker as quickly and accurately as you can. the subscription fee and the Family Tree Maker cost are well worth it over the long haul.
- Stay current with future Minnesota Genealogy Tips publications presented by this same source. many more are being produced to do such things as get a little deeper into the general steps mentioned above, as well describe the joys and challenges that lie ahead for beginning or advanced genealogists.