I jumped the gun with the 2nd post because I was so excited about sharing the information I found on the Morgan County Public Library’s website.  I hope you take advantage of the resources of your local library.  Some of the materials you find there may be essential to your genealogical research. If you are interested, you can go to the Georgia Public Library Service Public Library Directory to find links to all of the public libraries in Georgia.

Speaking of essential, I think its time to help you get started.  As I mentioned in my introductory post, this is my attempt in helping others by sharing resources and tips on how to do genealogy research.

So what is genealogy?  What’s the different between family history and genealogy?  I’m sure there are many definitions out there where genealogy is defined as one thing and family history is defined as something else.  For our purposes here, I will be using the terms interchangeably because they mean basically the same for me – collecting information on your ancestors.

Now that we have gotten the definition out the way, let’s move on to step one.  I know many people may want to start researching immediately after they find out that their great-gran’s name is Bessie Padgett.  Its not advised to skip two generations and jump to the third.  The best way to begin your search is to start with what you know.  You know who you are and your parents.  Is possible that you know your grandparents and great-grandparents.  By going about it this way, you are creating a link from your present to your past because you can prove that you were the child of X who was the child of Y whose father was Z.   Makes sense?

Probably not.  Let’s try this:

1. You (1 person)

2. Your Parents (2 people)

3. Your GrandParents (4 people)

4. Your Great-GrandParents (8 people)

5. Your Great Great-GrandParents (16 people)

etc.

To start, write down everything you know about your family – their names, ages, birth dates, place where they were born, death dates, place where they died, where they are buried, etc.  Talk to the elders of the family to collect more information.  Ask them questions about themselves, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.  Even if it the information doesn’t seem relevant at the moment, still make note of it. You may find that while you are doing research for an elusive family member, that tidbit of information that seemed random during your talk with Uncle Pete, now makes sense.

Now that you have some information, start filling out what’s called a pedigree chart.  This link will take you to a fillable form so that you can type in the information and save it to your computer for reference.  The pedigree chart only includes your direct lineage, i.e. you, your parents, grandparents, great-grands, great-great grands, etc.

You may wonder where do you put the information about grandma’s 8 brothers and sisters. Don’t worry, they won’t be left out. You record their information on a different form – the family group sheet. Since this form is not fillable, you will need to print this family group sheet to fill it out.  A family group sheet captures information about a family unit, so for every couple.  Basically every couple with their children, even if parents were not married.   Back then, just like now, family groups weren’t just a mom, dad, and kids.  They ran the gamut.

So that’s the first lesson.  If you are ready for more, you can go to the following sites which have free genealogy learning centers where you can learn more about various topics.

Ancestry.com – also has webinars on various topics

Familysearch.com – has revamped website.  Great site to explore.  Link is to Getting Started section of site. You can search many great databases here – where I first found the marriage information for Albert Padgett/Paggett

Genealogy.com

Genealogy.about.com

Okay.  I think that’s a good start. Good luck exploring.  And remember to post a comment.

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