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Author: ShelbyBoy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 803  
Subject: Where to start? Date: 10/8/2001 10:37 AM
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I know this question may have a broad answer, but where should a person start in the quest to trace family history?


ShelbyBoy
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Author: westex Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/8/2001 12:25 PM
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Try USGENWEB.com; ROOTSWEB.COM; FAMILYSEARCH.ORG. Good Starting points for any family searach.

USGENWEB has links to all of the states genweb sites; ROOTSWEB has several search engines and links; FAMILYSEARCH, the Mormon CHurch site is also very good.

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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/8/2001 3:10 PM
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Westex, thank you very much for posting the Morman Churcb's geneology URL. I have now bookmarked this site for future reference. Hopefully, your links will also help SB.

Best wishes,

Donna

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Author: EllenE Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 7 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/8/2001 4:33 PM
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You might try searching for online genealogy classes. I took one of these a few years ago through Virtual University, which doesn't appear to exist anymore, but maybe some other site has such a course. I believe I've also seen books on the subject, and occasionally magazine articles. I have a bunch of links I'll post later.

I haven't done much with my family tree, for a few reasons. On my father's side, I know everything since they came to this country in the late 1800's. They came through Galveston (rather than Ellis Island--which also has a site though I don't have it bookmarked as it isn't any use to me) but the Galveston Courthouse burned down in the 1930s, along with all the immigration records. So dead end there. If I wanted to search further, I'd probably have to go to Germany.

On my mother's mother's side, we have a written family history from their immigration from Ireland beginning in the late 1700s. Fascinating and helpful history, but here's the dilemma for me: my mother was adopted, so this history is not my blood history. My mother has no interest in finding her birth parents, so that is perhaps another dead end.

Actually, I'd be interested in any thoughts anyone has on this adoption issue. I've never seen it addressed, and never really gotten any kind of answer when I've asked.

Ellen

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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 9 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/8/2001 8:55 PM
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Ellen: Actually, I'd be interested in any thoughts anyone has on this adoption issue. I've never seen it addressed, and never really gotten any kind of answer when I've asked.

Ellen, I'm adopted - back in 1945 (born in 1944). All I know is that my mother is/was Italian and my father Jewish. I was adopted by a Scotch/Irish family. I will have to say that I am included in both my adopted paternal and matenal family albums as a child of Cliff and Ethel. Because of this, I plan to explore the families' trees. My cousin on my mother's side is doing one for the Fite family, and I have started on my father's side (Dedmond). There are some problems.....In the early 1900's, many births were not recorded except in the family bibles. Like you, I have reached some dead ends. But, I'll just keep trudging along.

Best wishes,

Donna

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Author: mlk14 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 13 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/9/2001 1:53 PM
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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.
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp

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:
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/rg/frameset_rg.asp?Dest=G1&Guide=PedChart.asp

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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Author: jfruhbauer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 25 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/9/2001 10:04 PM
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where should a person start in the quest to trace family history?

Sorry if this is too obvious, but I haven't seen it mentioned yet: Start with your family.

I haven't gotten too far, but I spoke to my aunt and she was able to tell me a lot (back 4 generations is a lot for me ;-) PLUS she has put me into contact with a relative in Europe.

Before I asked her, she had never mentioned that she wrote to this relative, nor had she ever mentioned any history.

Also important to me are immediate family stories - by asking my mother and my aunt (paternal), I learned so much that had never come up in conversation - my mom dug out an album with photos of my grandfather's bakery. Never saw the photos before I asked.

Not that my mom or aunt were neglectful or not interested in our (deceased or absent) relatives, it is just that with daily life intruding, some things fall to the wayside.

Jennifer

p.s. I have also found that having some type of software is useful to help organize - word processing or spreadsheets can only go so far. I used Family Tree Maker - maybe not the best one out there (it was free after a Best Buy sale/rebate), but it has helped with the organization (you can also scan and insert photos into a digital album and write the album to a format that anyone - without Family Tree Maker - can read).

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Author: ShelbyBoy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 26 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/10/2001 7:28 PM
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Try USGENWEB.com; ROOTSWEB.COM; FAMILYSEARCH.ORG. Good Starting points for any family searach.


Thanks for the pointers. Do you recommend any of the above over others or does it depend on the information you seek?

ShelbyBoy



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Author: mlk14 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 30 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/10/2001 9:16 PM
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All of the above. You want to check them all. Very different sites.

The first 2 are actually one in the same. Only different if you want to get political. There are also copious links to Ancestry.com, which you should take a look at too. (Just don't give them any money yet!! You hopefully won't need to.) USGenweb/Rootsweb is all users, discussions, contributed data, volunteer webmasters, etc. Connect with people like you, who want to help you. Ancestry is the pay site that owns the other 2.

familysearch.org is the site for the LDS FHC. It houses data, like the IGI (international genealogical index) and my favorite part, their library catalog.

Also try genealogy.com. Same deal as Ancestry. They are out for your $$$. There are other ways to get the data they want to sell you though.



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Author: EllenE Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 31 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/10/2001 11:41 PM
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Sorry if this is too obvious, but I haven't seen it mentioned yet: Start with your family.

Yes, this is a great idea. This is also a good way to get family stories, so you don't just have a list of names--you have some history as well.

Most older people love to reminisce about their past. My mother encouraged my grandfather to write his history donw--he got to just past her birth before he died, but she can take over now. My grandmothers would also tell me stories of their life. They're all gone now, but I still have a great-aunt who lives in the same city, and I hear new stories (and sometimes old ones!) every time I visit her.

This is wandering off on a tangent, but I've learned some really interesting things about life during the Depression from her. I'd always thought she married a bit late in life (she was 29) but she told me most women waited to get married during the Depression. Why? Well, they had jobs! As teachers and nurses, who are always needed. It was the men who were out of work. Why marry someone who can't find work when you're making money yourself? Not something that's usually mentioned in history classes...

Ellen

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Author: CharginFool Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 35 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/15/2001 11:11 PM
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Actually, I'd be interested in any thoughts anyone has on this adoption issue. I've never seen it addressed, and never really gotten any kind of answer when I've asked.

Hi Ellen! I'm in a similiar boat. My mom was adopted and we couldn't quite decide what to do either when we started getting into genealogy.

What worked for us was putting the birth-family info in as more of a "personal notes page" for her, then doing our family tree as if she were born to the family that adopted her.

You say your mom has no interest in her birth parents, would she object if you at least tried to find out their names or nationality? Some adoptees want to know NOTHING and other don't mind having some info.

even if your mom is okay with you doing minimal research, you may run into other road blocks. A lot may depend on when and where your mom was adopted. Some records were sealed and remain that way (making it extremely tough to get any info at all), some sealed records are now open, but still can be difficult to access.

Ange



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Author: CharginFool Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 36 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/15/2001 11:43 PM
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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.

Great starting info mlk14!

When I was a kid/teen I would listen to my great-grandmother and great uncle (her kid brother) for hours! Now that I actually want some of that info...it's too late. Gran knew quite a bit, but Uncle Dave was the real family historian.

We suffered more than one loss when he died because he knew it all, but only by memory. He'd never written anything down that we could find. His knowledge was such he could go back at least three generations prior to his dad's immigration from the UK. He once told us which relative owned what store at the corner of what intercetion in London!

If you don't think you can write it all down and pay attention at the same time - get a tape recorder!! No matter how many times you hear the stories, there's always going to be that one date or name that is vital to your research you get wrong or can't remember. Try to have a list of set questions for everyone you interview to answer. It can be a research maker or breaker (as I'm about to explain).

You may find that although siblings were born of the same parents and raised in the same house they have very different memories. My grandmother knew much more about her mom's side of the family and my uncle knew much more about his dad's side. It may also matters who was oldest/youngest.

A brother to the two above (5 boys and 2 girls in all) was "the baby." Both sets of grandparents were dead by the time he was old enough to really remember. He knew one g-dad was named David (he couldn't tell me maternal or paternal side) and he thought one g-mom was named Margaret. He knew his mom was born in Lancaster, PA and she had "a couple" of sisters, one or more being born in England.

Ange

getting off her soapbox for now.





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Author: dcarper Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 38 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 10/19/2001 5:01 PM
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Well, this will be repeating what some people have said, but start by talking to your family members.(*) Best, have a tape recorder going. I would even say to save the tapes for posterity.

Once you have gotten at least somewhat of a start (parents' birthdays, their siblings, grandparents' b'day and wedding day), go to your local Family History Center. (to find one, go to http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp). Most of these will hold classes on starting, or if there are enough volunteers, someone will help you get started, including how to record the information you have, and where to look for more.

Once you have a start, you will probably want to get a computer program to help keep track. I use 'Family Tree Maker', but there are others that are probably just as good. I would advise against buying the super-deluxe set with 10 or more CDs; you probably won't use most of them.

(*)
When interviewing family members, here is a start of some of the info you should try to get about each person:
Full name (including middle names and any nicknames)
Date of birth
Place of birth (state and county)
Christening date (if applicable)
Wedding date and location (church, county)
Date of death (if applicable)
Names of siblings, parents, etc.

It can also sometimes help to know where a person lived, so comments like "I think he was born in Illinois, but the family moved to Nebraska" can be helpful; in my case, I was able to find the land deed in Nebraska; this was also where the death certificate for one cousin was filed.

HTH,
David


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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 113 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 3/30/2002 3:55 PM
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I can't agree more that talking to family members is very important. Not only do many like to talk about old times, most think they have told the stories so many times before that no one wants to hear them any more.

So let them know you are interested. Get them thinking about it. And in time, you will learn a lot. In addition to the basics, you will find lots of ways to seed that thinking over time. Old photographs. Family mementos and heirlooms. Lots of these have stories or strong recollections associated with them.

Also ask them to repeat the stories the old timers used to tell. Many stories get distorted with time or misremembered. But with a clue you can often check them out to figure out which ones are correct and which ones are not.

And by all means, write the stories down. In time, you will wonder if you remembered all the details correctly. By that time, your source may no longer be able to tell you.

Everyday some of your family story is lost forever. Write it down while you can. Library research is what you can do after the real story has been lost.

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Author: LucyM Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 138 of 803
Subject: Re: Where to start? Date: 7/26/2002 11:50 PM
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I know this question may have a broad answer, but where should a person start in the quest to trace family history?
ShelbyBoy


ShelbyBoy, etal:

I know this is a response to a VERY old post so if it's been answered to death please forgive me.

My (limited) experience has been that the very best place to start on a family history search is with your oldest living relatives, and the sooner the better. Get pictures or copies of pictures and find out (and note on the picture back) who, what and when the picture is about. Start searching for documentation as soon as you get any information about an ancestor so that you can get confirmation or help from your still living relatives.

Lucy
wishing I had started this process many years ago

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