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Tracing family history

Guest Author - Cathy Brownfield

Have you taken any interest in your family history? I know only one branch of my family back to my great-great grandparents. There is controversy about the family legends. Which story is true? Which is not? Why was my maternal grandfather so secretive about his family roots? Why did I never hear about my paternal grandmother’s family? I’ve only just begun my search. And as many people have advised me, it IS addicting. If you are interested in tracing your family tree, come on along. I’ll share what I learn with you.

There are numerous ways to format your information. And there are forms online that you can print out and use. I went to www.kbyu.org/ancestors. They don’t just give you forms to copy. They have instructions for beginners. Yep. That spoke to me.

I began with a “pedigree chart,” filling in everything I know about both sides of my family, beginning with me, then my parents, then their parents and their parents’ parents. There are still some blanks but I will fill them in later.

Then I printed out a batch of “Family Group Record” forms. These go into a little more detail listing all of the husband and wife’s offspring. There are still some empty spaces, but I will eventually fill them in. The important thing is that I’ve started this, finally.

Some other forms that I’ve printed out:
· research questions
· research log
· source notes (details about a person, object and/or record)
· source notes about an ancestor
· timeline
· how to select records to search
· the research process.

You will find these forms at the above named site.

One suggestion to bear in mind if you don’t find immigration records for your family at Ellis Island is that Ellis Island did not open until 1892. If your ancestor arrived prior to 1892, you might want to check Castle Garden, N.Y. as a point of entry.

At www.bellaonline.com/site/Genealogy editor Tina Sansone has set up beginning genealogy with off-site links and articles to help you get started on your new hobby. You’ll find everything from “Genealogy for the Youth” to a “Step-by-Step Genealogy How-to Guide.” What more could you ask for? “Getting Started in Genealogy looks like a logical next step. “What can I do first?” There are five steps to get you started on your family history. Sansone also offers an e-book, “Getting Started in Genealogy,” which is available at www.bellaonline.com/ebooks/ebook141.

Looking for cemetery records online? Visit www.interment.net. Access is free. You can browse cemeteries by state as well as linking to records you may be searching for. Warning: All cemeteries are not listed. Ours isn’t.

There are free aids to your genealogy search available at www.easyfamilytree.com.

In the future I will update on my family tree project with more information. In the meantime, you might visit the Bella Online Genealogy site at www.bellaonline.com/site/Genealogy.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Cathy Brownfield. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cathy Brownfield. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debora Dyess for details.


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