Personal Contacts With Your Relatives.
the oldest living person will give helpful information.
among relatives for old records, etc.
type of record is most valuable for direct or bloodline ancestors.
the date the Bible was printed and the dates of the information
entered. This will help
you to check the authenticity of the entries and determine whether
they are original entries or copied entries.
inquiries about such records from those who you think might have
reason to be interested in a family record.
type of record is helpful in securing the full name of individuals,
their place of birth, etc. from church membership records, lodges,
clubs, associations, societies, etc.
Birth and Death Records
type of record is good for complete names, parents and localities.
Photographs, Scrapbooks, Announcements
underestimate the value of information as found in such sources.
letters, etc., are difficult to read, make sure of your transcripts.
Diaries, Biographies, etc.
for the possible existence of such records, especially among pioneer
ancestors, immigrants, prominent personalities, civic leaders, etc.
information is often found in old war records. Pensions from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, War of
may want to send a pedigree chart or family group sheet to a relative
requesting information, etc.
The above records, and all other sources of
genealogical information, should be able to stand
up under verification
and rechecking. Remember that
is sis always better to use more than one source of information in
building a record. In
compiling your won record, note in detail the name of the record, volume,
page, etc. A word of caution
might be given in regards to such things as “family tradition” and
other information strictly from memory.
Whenever possible, verify all such information from original
sources of information.
In general, the procedure in research is to
go from the known to the unknown. Or,
use the facts you have in your possession to secure additional
information. Direct your
inquiries to “surnames” or “localities” as follows:
In making what would seem to be a natural approach to your research
problem, check first through the surname of your ancestor.
Be sure to check under various spellings of the surname.
As a general rule remember
that in America, over a hundred years ago, surnames were written in
records the way they sounded to the person who did the writing. In
live and in a genealogical record no person is ever alone.
A child has its mother and father, his
brothers and sisters, aunts uncles, etc.; the wife and husband have each other; and the pioneer
will surely have descendents through more than one of his children.
We should not then be surprised if our ancestors mentioned each
other or gave identifying information about each other during their lives.
Therefore check through an index for any surname on your family
group pertinent to your locality.
In seeking out original records from the town you may expect
to find church records, cemetery inscriptions,
etc.; under a county locality for wills, seeds, marriages, etc.;
under the country or federal records, look for census,
military and court records. Be
on the lookout for local and locality histories.
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Each family, or family organization, should write its own family
history. The history of a
the lives of its individual members in a story or narrative form.
The Complete Family Record
As with the individual genealogy, the place to begin is in the
homes of the members of the family. It
is here that you will find a storehouse of unwritten memories and the
souvenirs of generations past.. It is the story of these souvenirs and
memories and the individuals who knew of them, together with the
genealogical record, that makes the complete family record.
A wide variety of
sources contribute information about a family.
Journals, newspaper clippings, old letters, scrapbooks, family
Bibles, diaries, together with the old heirloom documents, all freely
contribute to the storehouse of memories.
Interviewing the old folks will give interesting and essential
information. Let them tell
their own story in their own way. Make
direct quotations from them. To
delay a visit to some of your oldest living ancestors may deny you of
their life’s story. They cannot always be with us.
Correspond Among Relatives
Correspond freely among your relatives.
Offer to exchange information.
Let them share in the project at hand.
Them Live Again
Give your people a chance to live again through the pages of a
family history and they will always live in the memories of the members of
the family yet to come.
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Used, Appearance, Etc.
attitude towards your research problem an easily be determined by
the arrangement and appearance of your letter.
typewritten letter is best, or, a nearly handwritten letter in ink.
friendly, tactful and diplomatic in your approach.
make demands for copies of family records.
a reply easier to the older folks by writing your questions and
providing a space to write in the answer.
In most cases, send the short form of the family group sheet
and explain its use and purpose.
your needs seem important to them.
them know of your appreciation for their assistance.
the information sought is not likely to be known by your
correspondent, suggest that it be handed to someone who might know
and then request that person’s name and address.
to Public Record Offices
brevity and clearness in stating your inquiry. Offer to pay fees, etc.
a rule, public record offices cannot, or do not want, to analyze
your research problem, not can they assume the work of a
libraries do not do research on inquiries. They will, however, assist you in making information
available to you, or quote sources, but the compiling of the record
is up to you.
librarian of hour local library will assist you in securing the name
of a newspaper in the event you wish to advertise your problem
before the public.
librarian will also assist you in securing the names and addresses
of historical societies for the localities where your ancestors
writing to county clerks or recorders, you do not need to know their
names. Just address the
inquiry to the Clerk or Recorder of the county seat, give the name
of the city and state. Ask
for an “abstract” of a will, deed, etc., as this will give the
genealogical information of the document without the expense of a
complete copy of the document which might be pages in length.
In requesting such information, be sure to give the essential
information, for their search by identifying each individual
mentioned in the inquiry by giving birth dates, death dates, etc.
states now have vital statistic departments, usually connected with
the state board of health. A
number of the states give very helpful information in their
marriage, birth and death certificates.
Send the amount required by money order.
Identify by complete name and complete dates the individuals
for whom inquiry is made, or, identify with the best information
for military service in the United States should be addressed to the
National Archives, Washington, D.C.
A professional researcher will be needed to assist you for
inquiries by mail. You
must be able to identify the individual concerned and the military
unit to which he belonged, or date and place of enlistment, etc.
the beginning of your correspondence, make your letters short, and
easy to answer. Make
them say something.
friendly; unless you appeal to their interests in a natural friendly
way, they will probably not be interested in your inquiry.
a duplicate copy of you letters.
a self-addressed stamped envelope when necessary.
sure that your correspondent understands your inquiry.
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The popular and useful “Union List of Newspapers” as found in
the average American library, is a most helpful guide to the location of
old newspaper files.
Not only does this book give a complete list of the newspapers,
published in any one locality, but it also includes the years of
publication and where the existing copies of these newspapers may be
The Use of this book is quite simple.
The sates of the United States are listed alphabetically. Under the cities of the various states are listed the
newspapers as published in the past.
As each newspaper is
listed a code in letters is given regarding the present location of the
files. In the front and back of the book as explanation is given for
the coded letters which indicates their present location.
* * * * * * * * * * *
A book entitled
“Historical Societies of U.S. and Canada” is available in most
libraries or it may be purchased from the American Association for State
and Local Histories, 230 Broadway, Newark, New Jersey.
Here is an invaluable aid to research by correspondence. Most Historical Societies have a corresponding secretary and
will assist you if they are able to do so.
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A pedigree chart is a way of listing all of your ancestors on one
form. You can see your family
tree as it goes back and see the branching.
The pedigree chart lets you see at a glance how far you have gone
in your research.
There are many kinds of pedigree charts.
Some are made to look like trees with branches.
Some are shaped like fans. Some
pedigree charts just give you room to list names. Others list dates for the first few generations.
Pedigree charts are easy to use and they help keep your family
group sheets in order. To
make it easier, put the last names in capital letters so you’ll always
know which is which.
On the pedigree chart you will be No. 1 and your father is No.2 and
your mother in No.3. All the
male lines have even numbers and wives of each family group have odd
numbers. The wife’s number
is always after her husband’s number.
For example, since your paternal grandfather is No. 4, your
paternal grandmother is No.5.
Family group sheets are always written with the husband’s name
first. That’s why they all
have even numbers. All
your family group sheets will have even numbers so you can keep them in
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