Genealogical research means finding information about your ancestors. Gathering information about your family tree not only brings you closer to your family, but also helps in keeping track of all the major events that have taken place in the past, relating to your family.
The first question everyone always asks is how to get started. The answer is to find your oldest living relative and start with them. They are a wealth of information. They know more about your past than you. You can either ask them to write down everything they can remember or conduct an interview.
If you decide to take notebook route you use one of the two things: a notebook or a tape recorder. If they can't write, get them a tape recorder, a microphone and a stack of tapes and ask them to record what they know.
- Give a notebook to your mom and dad, Aunts and Uncles, etc. they also know things and every information is important no matter little the triviality.
- Start collecting paper meaning copies of birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, obituaries, diaries, pictures, deeds, etc. Anything and Everything you can get your hands on, which has any information on it.
- While you are collecting and they are writing, you need to become extremely organized and very methodical. To become organized and methodical you need to get a notebook and some sheets. These sheets will help you in your research.
- Write a to do list
This will allow you to be further organized and center your concentration on what's important. Keep that "To do list" handy when you are working on your genealogy.Now when your relatives are done with the task you've set forth to them. Read or listen to what they've done. If needed ask questions and make side notes. It will help you clarify things on later stages. After they finish this task you should remember to say Thank you and maybe make a nice gesture. Remember they didn't have to help you. A nice gesture will aid later if you need more help.
Before conducting the interview, explain to them what you are doing .The questions are merely to fill in the blanks and to aid you in your genealogical quest. You can begin with the basics - name, birth date, marriage date, parents name, place of birth, Education, employment, etc. Ask them about their earliest memories. Do they remember going to school for the first time.
Don't be afraid to get specific, but be aware you may get a general answer and so you'll have to cut through the answer to get your answer. Sometimes people cooperate sometimes people don't. It's much better to draw up a list of questions and write their responses.
Numbering is easy most genealogists use it. You are number 1 your father is number 2 your mother number 3. His father is 4 his mother 5. Her father is 6 her mother 7. What it boils down to is the male lines are even and the female lines are odd. To figure out what the next number is for their parents, take their number ex: 16 and multiple by 2. 32 is 16's father and 33 is 16's mother so 66 is the father of 33 and 67 is the mother and so on and on. It only seems hard because you haven't tried it. Try it and then decide.
When you are done your interviews thank the interviewee. Tell them if they would like, you'll give them, a copy of their page and if they are interested a copy of the genealogy. Ask them if it's ok to do this again. Xerox what you received and file one of the copies away JUST IN CASE. Then while the information is still fresh in your mind transfer the information to whatever you are using - a computer program or a paper.
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