Tips for Research
Maybe you would like to begin
researching your family tree. Here are some practical tips for
research I recommend you begin with. Happy hunting!
- Talk to everyone in your
family about what they know about the ancestors, keeping in
mind that memories can fade and that some of their
information is inaccurate. (Great Grandma was a full-blooded
Indian or we came over on the Mayflower are two examples of
information that is said over & over that is usually not
true.) Write down what you've found out. Buy or download a
free genealogy program to organize your information.
Brother's Keeper is shareware and can be downloaded for
free. Using a computer program all of your information is
organized and can be emailed to someone easily.
- Use ALL types of spellings
when you look for records. Many times the spelling changed
(Hawley to Holley) or the person writing down the
information had trouble deciphering the script. Sometimes
names are spelled so "screwy" that your best bet is just to
go through the pages. The "s" looks like "f" in some old
script, so Smith could look like Fith to a beginning
- Use the search engine on
this web and others to locate surnames.
- Post a query on the query
board. There are a number of different query boards
including Surname Boards -Gen Forum & County Boards.
(They're listed in the Links section)
- Join the email list and ask
questions about your ancestors there.
- Check census records in the
county and in surrounding counties. The 1850 census records
begin listing all of the family members and where each was
- Check the Cemetery records.
- Check the funeral home
listings. Many times people did not have money to buy a
tombstone, but their remains were handled by an undertaker.
- Check the local Genealogy
Library to see if they have any biographical information on
the family you are searching for.
- Check the birth, death and
marriage records. Those may list parents names, etc. Get
copies of these records by ordering them from the
- Check the old newspapers in
the library. You may also write one of the libraries to see
if your family member's name is listed in any index they may
have of old newspapers. (Sometimes people have done
abstracts of old newspapers and have made an index of the
names they've found.)
- If the ancestor was in the
Civil War, order the records! They have a great deal of
information in them!
Don't take every piece of
information someone sends you as gospel! Ask for sources!
Verify information! Have an open mind! YOU could be mistaken!