Genealogy Basics How to get started researching your family history. Laramie County Library System Cheyenne, Wyoming Genealogy Basics Overview: Record What You Already Know. Start with yourself and work backwards. Get Organized. Read a Genealogy How-To Book. Begin Your Research at Home. Look for Compiled Information. Research one Ancestral Line at a Time. Look for Original Records: Census Records Vital Records Social Security Death Index Record What You Already Know. Using Pedigree Charts: Begin with yourself and work back one generation at a time. • You are number 1. • Your father is number 2. Father’s name on the upper line. • Your mother is number 3. Use the woman’s maiden name. • Men always have even numbers, wives have odd numbers which are one more than their husband’s number. Recording Information in Pedigree Charts. Write surnames in capital letters: William James THOMAS Write dates military style: 10 Aug 2006 Write names of places from smallest to largest: Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, USA Using Family Group Sheets. A family group includes parents, children, and the spouse of each of those children. Prepare a family group sheet for each couple, formally married or not. Include all children alive or deceased. Include adopted children, but indicate adopted. Show where you found the information. Work Backwards From Known to Unknown. Work backwards from the present to the past, one generation at a time. This will help you keep from making mistakes. Dates and places of events are just as important as names. For every generation back the number of ancestors doubles. Know the history of where your ancestors lived. The more general history you know of the time and place your ancestors lived the easier your research will be. What you need to find more information: Who A full name, use a woman’s maiden name if known. What The event: birth, death, marriage, etc. Where A very important thing you need to know is the place where a person was born, married, lived or died, etc. When An (at least) approximate date for a vital event (birth, death, marriage, etc.) Get Organized: Keep a research log. Cite every source. – Keep a written record of all the sources you have searched. – Try to photocopy the information and the title page of books. – Indicate where the source is located and its call number. – Interviews with relatives count as sources. Indicate person, date & time. – Include both positive and negative results. – Keep the information in files or notebooks in an organized manner. Getting organized with forms: Use pedigree (or ancestry) charts, family group sheets, research logs, etc. Genealogical forms are available for you to copy in the LCLS Genealogy Room or at: www.cyndislist.com/supplies.htm www.familysearch.org/eng/home/welcome/start.asp Get Organized with Genealogy Software: By using a genealogy software program you can: Enter individual information Link individuals together Allow for as many notes as necessary Share information with others Download (copy) files from other people Add photographs, video clips or pictures of family memorabilia Produce artistically pleasing and personally-designed forms Search databases automatically Using Genealogy Software: Personal Ancestral File There are others but PAF is good is completely free. To install PAF software • Go to www.familysearch.org • Under ―Free family history software‖ • Click on ―Download PAF‖ • You will be asked to register the software. • Then choose English version 5.2.18 and click download. Follow the instructions. • A PAF icon is automatically placed on your desktop • Double-click on the PAF icon. • Start entering your genealogy information. No further updates or support on this product. Other Genealogy Software Programs: Also FREE: Legacy Family Tree – Standard edition www.legacyfamilytree.com Family Tree Legends www.familytreelegends.com For a small cost: Family Tree Maker – Generations Legacy Family Tree – Deluxe edition The Master Genealogist (TMG) RootsMagic For the Mac: Reunion MacFamilyTree Also GEDitCom, Genealogy Pro, Heredis, iFamily Read a Genealogy How-to Book: • The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy Val D. Greenwood • The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy Loretta Dennis Szucs • Complete Idiots Guide to Genealogy Christine Rose • The Everything Family Tree Book Kimberly Powell See my genealogy bibliography handout (books are in the 929s on the 3rd Floor) Use Home Sources: These may be in your home or the home of a relative: Birth, marriage and death certificates Deeds, wills, & titles Bibles Diaries, journals, & birthday calendars Family trees Funeral cards Certificates (from schools or jobs) Cookbooks and other books (check for inscriptions) More Home Sources: Closet doors (look for writing on the inside) Furniture (sometimes you'll find names and dates on the bottoms or backs of furniture) Autograph books and scrapbooks Military service records Newspaper clippings Pictures (don't forget to look at the backs) Résumés Even More Home Sources: School papers (report cards can have parents' signatures) Sewing samplers, quilts, and other handmade items Tax records Trunks and chests Yearbooks Make copies whenever possible and include the source Look for Compiled Information: Learn what information on the family has already appeared in books and periodicals. Published information on your family could appear in four types of resources: • biographies, • genealogies, • local histories, and • published original records. These resources are published as periodicals, books, and computer databases. Evaluate Compiled Information: Evaluate Written and Oral Evidence Remember the old adage: Just because it's in print (or online) doesn't make it true. Look to see if the book is documented; that is, did the author cite a source for each fact? Spot check some of the author's sources. • Are you able to find a document based on the footnotes or endnotes? Finding Published Genealogies: Look in WorldCat for books in other libraries. From the www.lclsonline.org, click on ―WYLD Catalog‖, then “Articles, test preparation, readers advisory and more‖ under ―Additional Resources‖. Then choose “W” for ―WorldCat‖. You’ll need a library card # and PIN. The default PIN is WYLD. Ask the 3rd floor “Ask Here” desk to ILL (Interlibrary Loan) the book for you. There may be a charge. More Places to Find Published Genealogies: The LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City is the largest genealogy library in the world. Go to www.familysearch.org and click on the Library tab. Items with film notes listed can be ordered through the LDS Family History Center located at Laramie County Library for $5.50 per film. Try the Library of Congress at www.loc.gov/index.html. They also have a large collection of published family histories and many historical documents in digital format available. Look Online for Family Histories: Ancestral File at familysearch.org: Ancestral File is a computer database containing information about some 30 million persons. Each person is linked to a family and through their family back in time as many generations as family researchers have provided. Ancestry Library and Heritage Quest databases: Ancestry Library is available at Laramie County Library Heritage Quest can be accessed at home with a library card # and PIN. (the default PIN is wyld). And don’t forget to just try your luck on an Internet search engine such as Google at www.google.com. Genealogy Periodicals: Read a general genealogy magazine to learn new search techniques: Ancestry Family Tree Internet Genealogy (and many more) To find past articles about kin and their home towns published in magazines, journals and newsletters use the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). Available on Heritage Quest database. Over 200 periodical titles published from 1986 to the present, are included in the database. Choose One Ancestor to Research at a time. Or one family line – be systematic. Learn where your ancestors lived. Knowing the county is essential to genealogical research. Use maps and atlases to find the county name. You can also search the Internet. Rand McNally Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide is recommended. Learn More About the Places Where Your Ancestors Lived: Consult Everton’s Handybook for Genealogists or Ancestry’s Redbook. • Gives history of county and tells where records are located. Also helps when boundaries have changed. Dollarhide’s Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. Search WYLDCAT (the LCLS library catalog) for books with information from the county and state where your ancestors lived. • Use keyword search!!! Look for Original Records: Many times you will use records that were created for purposes other than genealogy. Most records were originally recorded on paper. Many have since been microfilmed, indexed, compiled in books and/or on the Internet. Good indexes will always point you to the original source document. Look for Original Records: Primary Sources A primary record or source is one created by an eyewitness of an event. Whether the writer records the event as it occurs or describes it at a later time does not change the fact that a record created by an eyewitness at any time is a primary source. Vital records (birth, marriage & death certificates) are usually primary sources. However, the period of time between the event and the recording of the event could dramatically affect the source's accuracy. Original Records: Secondary Sources A secondary source is based upon evidence gathered after an event occurred by a person who was not an eyewitness. – Newspaper clippings, compiled family history, etc. Sources may be both primary and secondary. –A death certificate is a primary source for the death but may be a secondary source for a birth. Census Records: One of the best original records In the U.S., a census has been taken every 10 years from 1790 through 2000. 1790 to 1930 censuses are available to genealogists to search. All censuses taken after 1930 (1940-2000) are still confidential and the information they contain is not open to the public. There is a 72 year privacy rule. Census Records Why should you use census records? Census records are an extremely valuable tool in genealogy research. They are one of the easiest types of records to use and one of the most accessible for all family historians. Census records lead to other civil and religious records. They narrow down the timeframe and places to search for civil and religious records. Both federal and state censuses are available to researchers. How Census Records Can Help in Your Genealogy Research: Many of the censuses give not only names, ages and birthplaces, but also state the relationship of people within a household. Depending on the questions asked in that particular census, you may also learn when your ancestors came to the U.S., if and when they were naturalized, how many children a woman gave birth to and other vital pieces of information. More about the U.S. Federal Census: 1790 through 1840 censuses listed head of household plus number of others living there. Beginning in 1850, census lists all names, ages, places of birth, occupations, etc. 1870 census indicates if individual’s parents were foreign born. 1880 and later censuses added: Birthplaces (country or state only) of each person’s parents. U.S. Federal Census cont. 1890 federal census was (mostly) destroyed by fire. 1900 and 1910 censuses include: (1) the age of each individual, (2) how many years he had been married, (3) year of immigration, (4) citizenship status. 1920 and 1930 censuses also give: (1) age & (2) lists the year of naturalization. Start with 1930 and work backwards. Searching the U.S. Census: Look at the census for the state where your ancestor lived when the census was taken Start with most recent census (1930) and work backwards. Note similar names living nearby—in the same county and in neighboring counties. Watch for spelling errors and variations, and over- sight. Do not be wedded to one surname spelling. Scan, photocopy or otherwise record the information you find, especially the year of the census. Always keep track of the source. Searching Census Information on Computer Databases: 1790-1930 Census Information are available in the library on Ancestry Library and Heritage Quest databases. Some can also be found at familysearch.org or at pilot.familysearch.org. Heritage Quest can be searched at home with your library card # and PIN #. The default PIN is wyld. Ancestry Library: Ancestry Library is the library version of Ancestry.com (a paid subscription website). A wealth of genealogy information available including scanned images of the original census reports. Available for searching only in the library. Heritage Quest: Heritage Quest is another great genealogy database provided through Wyoming libraries. HQ also provides access to 1790-1930 census images (and much more). It can be accessed through the Laramie County Library System’s website at www.lclsonline.org with your library card # (2900920xxxxxxxx) and your PIN (default is wyld). Vital Record information on the Internet: You can find some vital record information on databases such as Ancestry Library or at individual websites such as those from the LDS Family History Library, state archives, or universities. But often you will have to write to the county or state where the records are held and pay money to get copies. Write for Vital Records: Vital records are civil records of births, marriage,deaths, etc. Keeping vital records only began after the mid 19th or early in the 20th century. Start with yourself and work backwards. Obtain a birth and marriage certificate for yourself. Then obtain birth, marriage and, if applicable, death certificates for your parents, then grandparents, etc., Birth Certificates: Birth certificates reveal: Baby’s name, birth date and parents Birthplaces of both parents, their age, their occupations, and their address The number of other children Death Certificates: Death certificates can reveal: Place and cause of death. Name of deceased’s parents, Residence at time of death, Exact date of death, and date of burial Name of informant and relationship to deceased Funeral home that handled the arrangements, name of cemetery Marriage Records: Beginning in the 1600s, town clerks in New England and county clerks elsewhere (1700s) primarily maintained marriage records. After 1850s at State Board of Health/Bureau of Vital Statistics Other sources of marriage records: Justice of the Peace registers Found with county clerks, local historical societies, libraries or descendants of the Justices. Church records, especially New England, Quaker, and German. Where to Write for Vital Records. Look in books such as International Vital Records Handbook, County Courthouse Book, Genealogist’s Address Book, Everton’s Handybook for Genealogists and Ancestry’s Redbook. All available at LCLS in the Family and Local History section. Websites such as “Where To Write for Vital Records” http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm Social Security Death Index: Available at www.familysearch.org, www.rootsweb.com www.ancestry.com and Ancestry Library Edition. • The database contains information provided by the Social Security Administration and contained 88 million records as of January 2011. With their Social Security number you can write for a copy of the deceased’s ―Application for a social security card,” form SS5. The Original SS Card Application: Gives the name of the person's father, maiden name of mother, date of birth, address at time of application, occupation, and name and address of employer. This is primary evidence because it was written by the person himself. To obtain a copy, write to: Social Security Administration OEO FOIA Workgroup 300 N. Green Street P.O. Box 33022 Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3022 Summary: 1. Record What You Know. Begin With Yourself and Work Backwards 2. Read a How-to Book. 3. Begin Your Research At Home. 4. Look for compiled information. 5. Research one ancestral line at a time. 6. Look for Original Records: Census Records Vital Records Social Security Death Index The Family and Local History Room at LCLS: The Genealogy Room (3rd Floor) is open: Monday – Thursday • 10:00 to 9:00 Friday –Saturday • 10:00 to 6:00 Sundays • 1:00-5:00 If no volunteer or staff person is available, ask for help at the 3rd Floor “Ask Here” Desk.