Part 2 of beginners guide to genealogy
What type of information Do you Need to collect
Now that we have all the tools that will make this easier, let’s look at what type of information are we collecting. When you look at a family tree, you are looking at history that was written by your ancestors and by you and your descendants. Everyone no matter how short or long of a time they have spent on this earth creates a moment in time. They existed and that is all that is needed to make a mark on history. Yes some ancestors may have made great strides in life, that make their time on this planet a little more grand.
There are certain facts that are needed in order to prove the connection to your lineage. Those are dates of birth, marriage and who their parents and children are. There are other facts that make the connection more complete such as where they lived, what they did for a living, deaths, and burial sites, etc. We will get into to this a little more in-depth shortly.
So as you can see there is a lot of information that needs to be collected and kept in an organized fashion or you may get very confused as mix up dates and people’s information which would be a disaster.
It is very important that you keep a good documentation on where you get your information from. This will help you to verify that the information is correct. If you have a question or conflict in information you can look back at that source to confirm its accuracy. We will get more into this in Part 3 of Where to go to find your information.
Here is an example of some of the information you will be collecting to create and preserve your family tree. You will be starting with your own information and then adding the ancestors and then the descendants that you know.
- Date of Birth your and where were you born (location)
- Were you baptized? If so, when, where and who are your godparents.
- Any other religious rites? When and where, performed by who?
- Names of both parents and where they were from (nationality), their dates of birth, death and marriage(s) divorce(s).
- Dates of your marriage(s) and locations (if married in Church, who was present)
- Name of your spouse(s) and their parents, date of birth and where they were from
- Names of your children, dates of birth and death, and where.
Other forms of information that can be added:
- Education, where you went to school, college
- Military information, what branch of the service, when, what was your rank, and where stationed?
- Occupations, who you worked for, when, where and what was your job title?
- Sports, types, when and for how long, where
- Achievements, or awards
- Locations you lived, own or rent?
- Accidents or life changing events (earthquakes, floods, etc)
There can be other pieces of information you know or come across that will give an even better picture of yourself or someone else in your family tree. As you can see there is a lot of information that you can collect.
I am assuming that you have decided what family tree you are working on, meaning your father’s surname or your mother’s maiden name. It is best to work on one family tree at a time. But if in your research you come across something on another of your trees, start a file and be sure to label it clearly what family tree it belongs to.
Once you have completed your own information then do your father, then your mother, and then your siblings, collecting all the same information that you collected on yourself from the above list. You will be going back in your ancestry first to as far back as you can with the information that you know. There will be things that you don’t know. That’s ok, we will be covering other ways to find information in part 3.
Depending on whether you are entering this information into a genealogy software program on your computer, in a word processing document or hand writing it on a pdf or notebook will determine how easy or difficult it will be to keep your information organized. As I mentioned early and will cover in more depth, always list the source where you got your information from. If it was from your memory then put down, yourself as source. If it was from your mother or father then write down oral or verbal source from them.
*As a side note to help with your organizing, if you are using PDF forms, be sure to number the pages and write the surname at the top of the page. If you are using a word processing doc or note, you will need to create a cataloging number system to things in order. Number each generation and sub number and letter each descendant. An example of this:
2. Your first born child
3. Your second born child
3.i their birth born child
4. Your third born child
In part 3 we will cover where do you go to find your information.