How To Begin?
The first question you ask yourself probably is "How Do I Begin?". Then the next question would naturally be "Where Do I Get The Information On My Ancestors?". So lets start from there:
Like most things you do you first have to begin with yourself. If you already have a Pedigree Chart start filling in the information you already know. If you don''t have a Pedigree Chart you can download one HERE and print as many copies as you need. You can also download the Ancestor Sheet HERE and fill one out with all the information on you and each of your ancestors. Your may choose to keep all of your information on a computer, for that there are various software programs both free and commercial for doing this. The LDS Church offers a free program called PAF (Personal Ancestral File) which is PC based and available for FREE download HERE. On this page there will be a download link for the latest version of PAF. For Macintosh there is a commercial program call Reunion by Lesister Productions which you can read more about HERE. NOTE: You may wish to keep track of your information on the computer and on paper. A few other items that will come in handy very quickly are A Box With A Lid (For keeping misc. papers, photographs, etc.), A Notebook (For keeping copies of your Pedigree Charts, etc.), Highlight Markers (For marking important information on copies of documents) and lastly a Computer With Internet Access (There is a wealth of information available on the internet to help you with your Family History pursuits) For a list of Family History links go to our links page HERE.
Now that you''ve decided your record-keeping method and have filled in everything that YOU know you''ve probably noticed a lot of holes in your information. So now let''s address the second question, "Where do I get the information on my ancestors?" First, call the oldest living member of your family. You''ll be amazed at the wealth of knowledge that they will have. The stories that they tell will bring a richness to your pursuit. Many of the people that you will be researching will be more than just names. They will be faces, experiences with a good helping of Love. They also will typically be the keepers of old photographs, Family Bibles and other family heirlooms that have been handed down for generations. One thing that you will want to remember is to verify the information. Memories fade and with that so does accuracy. But beyond the accuracy they will still be a Treasure Trove of information.
Welcome to the World Of Family History. By the time you''ve finished your first or maybe second Pedigree Chart you should be beginning to feel a little of what is known as the Genealogy Bug. Don''t worry it''s not fatal, in fact it can transform your heart in ways you never knew were possible. The symptoms are: an uncontrollable desire to visit libraries pouring through old newspapers for obituaries, calling or visiting members of your family you haven''t talked to in years, searching the internet for names and looking through miles of microfilm. Other symptoms include: visiting cemeteries looking for names or dates and going to family reunions. There is no known cure and it is highly contagious, although some relief has been reported by sharing the load with other genealogy enthusiast.
The information above is only a start, you may wish to take classes offered here at the Greensboro Family History Center. The Family History Center has trained specialist staffing the facility, we have a large variety of microfilm and microfiche available. We also have access to the largest source of genealogical records in the world that can be ordered and delivered to the Center. There are also many good books and websites devoted to Family History Research. Good Luck with your efforts and stop by the Center and let us know how it''s going.
Organize Folders By Surname
The easiest way to keep track of your information is by Surname. Surnames are the basic piece of information for each individual.
Color Code Your Files
Color Coding can be quite helpful in keeping family groups together. A good rule to follow would be to use a different color for the birth surname of each of your grand-parents.
Archiving Family Photos
Scanning photographs and keeping them as digital files is an excellent way of archiving photographs. By doing this you can also easily share copies with other interested parties.
Keep Good Records
Records are the lifes blood of Family History Research. The better your records the easier it will be to verify them for accuracy.
Join a Genealogical Society, help in the Family History Center or offer to help a friend or family member do their Family History. What you give returns to you a hundred fold.
There is no better source for knowing where to look for information than the source of all knowledge and inspiration. Whenever you''re facing a line that seems to be a deadend. Look for it on your knees.