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Start Your Research with Yourself!

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Anyone wishing to start a search for their ancestors needs to start with themselves and work backwards one generation at a time. This way, each generation can be documented as linking to the previous one, and a family genealogy can be accurately connected back to it's earliest recorded ancestors.

A successful family researcher needs to find all the important family papers that might contain genealogy documents, and those are described in the pages to follow.

What to Look For

So go through your files, and make sure you have copies of your birth, marriage, and divorce papers, plus death certificates for close family members who have passed. Make sure you have the birth cerificates of any children.

Other certificates of importance to the family should be organized as well. You might want to make a binder for each family member with all of their important papers, certificates of accomplishment, diplomas and college degrees.

Put anything in a person's notebook that tells who they are, even report cards, honor roll certificates and important medical documents. Creative people might even want to make a scrap book for each family member with a collection of personal and family photos.

Personal History Binders

If you family members are interested, they might want to help make their own personal history binders. Don't forget to add personal stories, drawings and outstanding school work, newspaper articles which feature the family member, and even small mementos if you are making a scrapbook. Each persons profile book should be unique and focus on who they are as a person. Don't forget to showcase hobbies, collections, and photos and lists of their best friends at any given age.

Organize Family Photos

This is also a good time to organize and label your family photos, and get them scanned onto permanent media, like cds or printed out on high quality photo paper. You might want to get your old family videos upgraded to cds or flash drives too, as not many VCRs are available for playing any old videotapes you took of the family in the 1980s and 1990s.

This can be a fun project for the whole family!

Family Group Binders

Once you are organized, you can move on to making books for your immediate family showing your family actiivies. Later, you will want to make a binder for every family group that is important in your family history, including the parents in their original family groups, the grandparents in their original family groups, etc.

Use This Tutorial to Get Ideas On Where to Find More Information About Your Family

This tutorial will show you ways to find out the information you want to know about each of your family groups over the last several decades and perhaps several centuries into the past. What a wonderful way to learn about history through the eyes of your own family, their struggles, their joys, their occupations, their service to their country and the the faith that saw they through good times and bad.

Have fun and enjoy tracing the history of your family!

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This page written and designed by: Sharon Troy Centanne, Genealogy Research Instructor

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