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Beginning Genealogy

First step

    I assume your interested in getting a start on your genealogy. You wound up here somehow. Well, it's a lot easier than you might think. Take a sheet of paper and copy the form below:

Husbands Name:
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Burial:
Parents
Father:
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Burial:
Mother:
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Burial:

Wife's Name:
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Burial:
Marriage Date:
Marriage Place:
Parents
Father:
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Burial:
Mother:
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Burial:

Children
Name:
Birth Date:
( Repeat as necessary )

Now fill in the information.

    You've started. I told you it was simple. Basically it just continues from there with the same sort of basic information. All your research can be done on paper. BUT, you can also use your computer and a genealogy program that keeps your records and has everything set up for you.

Genealogy Software

    Modern genealogy software has a lot of great features. It can range from FREE to VERY expensive. The more you pay does not necessarily equate to more features.

Genealogy Softare
In No Particular Order
Roots Magicrootsmagic.comFree Trial
Legacy Family Treelegacyfamilytree.comFree Version
Family Tree
Maker
familytreemaker.com   
Personal Ancestry
File (PAF)
familysearch.orgFree
Ancestral Questancquest.comFree Trial
Brothers Keeperbkwin.org    
Master Genealogistwhollygenes.com    
Heredismyheredis.comMAC
Geneics.uci.eduMAC
Mac Family Treesynium.deMAC
Reunionleisterpro.com/MAC
Grampsgramps-project.orgLINUX

    The above list is by no means all that's available. It's a small sampling of what's available out there. For more software packages remember that Google is your friend.

Now What

    So, now you have your basic start and some software. Where do you go from here. If your fortunate you will have some other family members to talk to about family history. Remember that not everything is as it sounds. There's an old story about how Grandpa was killed when, as the guest of honor at a large civic function, the scaffolding he was standing on collapsed. The real story might have been that he was hung as a horse thief. Not all our ancestors were angels. When you find one that was less that perfect just record the events as they happened. Don't try to make it all better. You might upset some other family members that would rather no one know that grandpa was a horse thief, but genealogists are recorders of history as much as names and dates,
    In my own personal experience, I was told that someone thought they overheard someone tell someone that my Great Great Great [ 3G ] Grandfathers father was named Ralph. Well so far I can't disprove it but it is extremely unlikely. I suspect that his brother was named Ralph from my research. While not completely correct the story may still have contained a nugget of information.
    So, talk to other, older, family members if you can. Write down, or better yet record, what they tell you. It will point you in the direction you need to go for more information.

Research

    Rule number one when doing your research is to keep a record of where you find your information. It's called "Citing" or "Citation". It is very important. A few years from now you might not remember where you found it when you need proof of something. OR, if you give your research to someone else they won't have any idea where you got it unless you provide citations.
    There are any number of places on the web where you can look at records. If your reading this you've found at least one part of one place, Logan County of the Oklahoma Genweb of the U. S. Genweb Project. USGenWeb has projects for each state which in turn have county projects. All USGenWeb projects are dedicated to proving free information. Other sites to look at may be either free or "for-pay" sites. Check with your local library. Many provide access to some of the "for-pay" sites as a benefit of their library cards. Some have access only from the library others allow you to log in through your home computer.

Online Research Sites
Family Searchfamilysearch.org/Free Site
Rootswebrootsweb.ancestry.comRootsweb is Free
See below
See Ancestry
Ancestryancestry.comFor Pay Site
FootnoteFootnote.comFor Pay Site
Heritage Quest    Available Only
Through Libraries
World Vital
Records
worldvitalrecords.comFor Pay Site
National Archives
Government records
archives.govFree Search
Pay for copies
Again, not a complete list but a good start.

    Some notes about Rootsweb. Rootsweb provides free genealogy websites for individuals called freepages, mail lists for just about every surname you can imagine and some you can't as well as states, counties, cities and groups, and message boards for all those also. That's just a small portion of Rootsweb's services. On the downside is that some of the links to information you find will lead to Ancestry and cost to retrieve.
    What records you find will vary from site to site. Sorry to have to tell you that there is no one site with everything you need/want to know. ALSO, not everything you find online will be 100% correct. If your on a site like most of those above and looking at copies of original records or indexed records you can pretty much take it to the bank. Information found on individual researchers sites should be looked at but not counted on unless they can provide proper proof.
    Even with all that's online you will still have to get out and do some leg work to find information. Some good places to start are County Court Houses where your ancestors lived. As Murphy's Law states, "What can go wrong, WILL." In some cases you might find that the only record of grandpa was lost in a court house fire a hundred years ago. When they haven't had a fire, flood or other disaster they will most likely have land records, marriage records, probate records, etc. These are a goldmine of information.
    Another good place is your states Historical Society. Many have libraries where they have many research materials. Also The Church Of Later Day Saints [ The Mormons ] quite often have research sites in many larger cities. You can order microfilm of records and read them in the research center. A lot of counties will also have Genealogical Societies and have information available. Some other places you might find useful are cemeteries, funeral homes and newspapers.

In Closing

    OK, now you have a beginning and some work to do. Remember that if your to become the family "genealogist" your also going to be the family historian. Record all the family stories you can collect. It's the stories that make our ancestors live in our memories. Don't gloss over the hard facts.


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© 2017 by Logan County Coordinator, OKGenWeb Coordinator
Last Updated, 2016