Well you should have a pretty good start of on you family tree with all the information that you know about yourself, your parents, and maybe even your grandparents your family tree is starting to look pretty good.
In this part we will break down a list sources that you can use to find information about members of your family tree.
There are four areas of sources that we will be looking at:
Starting with Documents:
You may have access to a collect of family documents such as letters, certificates, deeds, wills, awards etc. Each of these can be a wealth of information. Especially if they are from older ancestors, like grand parents or great uncles. Photographs, family photo albums and even bibles can be a source.
You started out with your own oral history in a matter of speaking. You interviewed yourself and draw upon the information that you could remember. You will need to sit down with others in your family, such as your parents, aunts, uncles or older siblings and ask them for information. You may not have to opportunity to sit down face to face with someone, because they live too far away, so you may need to correspond with them via the phone, the internet or postal mail. Not everyone is willing to share personal information, so be patient and thank them even if they don’t want to share. You may want to read my article on how to interview a relative. Some relative may have documentation that could be helpful to you. Don’t ask to borrow , instead ask if they would mind if you took a photo with your phone or camera. If using a digital camera, be sure that it is legeable to see or read.
These are things like birth, death and marriage records, deeds, census and military records to name a few. Churches has baptismal, marriage and burial records. City/town clerk offices carry birth, death, marriage records and land deeds. Another form of public information is newspapers publish obituaries, memorial services, birth announcements, engagement and wedding announcements. Some libraries have a genealogy section that contains city directories, and books that list family trees and other genealogical information. Some have newspapers and census records on microfilm. Many states have a vital information office where you can look up birth, death and marriage records by year. Check with your city/town clerks office, local library and churches that you have in your area.
Genealogical Associations are a very helpful source. You will need to check to see if there is one in your state. These usually have many resources, such as books and microfilm records. Some have members that can help you with looking up information and some even have researchers that can do research for you. They normally have an annual membership fee or a one time visit fee.
Another place that can be very helpful for information is cemeteries. Some of them have a care taker that can be helpful in finding a grave. Some cemeteries have written records. Many times the cemetery is owned by a church, so they may be the record holder. See my article on grave site seeking for more information.
Since the creation of the world wide web, the access to genealogical information has been growing by leaps and bounds. Many government and state offices have records available on line. There is usually a fee associated either a cost per document.
There are a ton of genealogy websites that have large data bases of many of the public records and many family trees that have already been created. Check out my article on overview of the top 5 genealogy websites. Many of these have a subscription or member fee. The important thing to remember is when using resources on the internet that you may sure they are a reliable resource.
I hope that this information was helpful in understanding what you need to have for tools, what information that you should collect and where you can find the information you need to preserve your family tree.