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Step 1: Figure out what you know. Write down all names, dates, places, relationships, family stories, everything that you already know. Talk to all of your relatives. Start with the oldest relative. (Don't mean to be morbid, but having the only relative who knew about someone or something die on you before you can ask them about it is a common problem.) Write down everything they know. Repeat until you have exhausted all of your relatives.

Step 2: Your genealogy is unique. Very few people share it (Have any brothers & sisters? :-) Therefore there really is no step 2. But I will make one up.

Step 2: Find an experienced genealogist to look at your unique genealogy that you have so far. Get personalized advice for what to do next. Where does one find an experienced, knowledgeable genealogist willing to do this? One way is to look for a genealogy society in your area. Another is to go to a Mormon Family History Center. Both can be found in your phone book.

Mormon Family History Centers can also be found here. As you can see, they are located all over the world.

You will have to take all of the information collected in Step 1 with you. A good way to get the basic, most important info down on paper is to use this form:

You'll have to download the .pdf (It looks horrible in my browser, but it will be nice after you download it.) If you can't see it, that means you need to get Adobe Acrobat Reader. There's a link for downloading Acrobat.

Ignore the Mormon specific stuff on the form. The important thing is to get down names, dates, and places. Have everything else you found out about each member of your family with you too to start with. Maybe in a notebook or something like that. But have it summarized on this chart.

If you are absolutely determined to use the internet only, you have to first figure out what time periods and places you are dealing with. Then find information on researching in those particular time periods in those particular places. You can sometimes find this on the 'net. Then you are going to be disappointed, because the instructions will tell you where to visit, or who to write (snail mail!) to. 99% or more of the records you need will not be on line.

Another thought is that if we can get enough experienced genealogists over here on this board, you could ask us. For example, I'm an expert in one or two tiny geographical regions in one or two decades each. Enough Fools and we might constitute experts in the whole world!

So post some of your people. We need to know when they were born, married, and died. And WHERE they were born, married, and died. Maybe someone here can then tell you what to do next.

Got anyone in the United States proper in 1850 to 1920? In Ohio around 1920 to 1930? I can help you with that!

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