Genealogy - Ancestors and Descendants

Soooo, you're curious about your ancestors.....or aunts, uncles and cousins who you didn't know you had. You want to examine your family tree (you may find a few "nuts" on the branches)

Genealogy is a great hobby....or an obsession! You'll find yourself playing detective...looking for clues to where your ancestors lived, hunting for that missing son who was listed in 1850 but not 1870...did he marry and leave home, was he killed in the Civil War, or did the census taker misspell his name and sex (happens!) so instead of looking for John you should have been looking for Joan....

Or, maybe you think you're linked to a politician, gangster, millionaire or a movie star (look for their real names, not something made up by a publicity agent) Looking for John Wayne? Try looking for Marion Morrison, his real name. How about Marilyn Monroe...she was actually Norma Jean Baker.

Since you're at step #1, we'll begin very easily.….this is the way I started and the procedures and steps are my own….others search in different ways, but I tend to hop around a little in my searches……(so, if you are a dedicated, professional searcher, don’t yell at me….but, you can add your ideas and techniques)

1. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or any living relatives to tell you about your family. Where did they live? Where did the family originally come from? Try to get dates or approximately when they were born.

2. Any family bibles laying around? You know, that big, bound book, sometimes closing with a clasp. They're not as popular now, but in the past, you'd find children listed with birth dates, parents, marriages, and deaths.

3. Buy a genealogy program...they are available on CDs and they are easy to understand. I use
Ancestral Quest but Family Tree Maker and many others are available. About Genealogy can give you ideas about a good beginner program.

3. Visit
WorldConnect, type in your family name and see if anyone is searching or has searched for it. World Connect will not list anyone who was born after 1930 unless that person has a death date, so start with your oldest relative.

Keep in mind however, that this information is submitted by individuals, sometimes through word of mouth from family members. It does not always contain entire families and sometime contains errors.

If you know something that the submitter doesn’t….contact them! They will love hearing from a new “cousin”.

Find A Grave has 9 MILLION grave sites listed. Maybe one of your ancestors is listed. The listings are submitted by genealogists or just plain ole people who want others to know where people are buried.

5. Many ancestors arrived in America and were processed through
Ellis Island. This information will tell you what ship they arrived on, the date, and who was traveling with them.

Gen Forum - look for your family name…..someone may be asking questions about YOUR ancestor….or….may have the information you’ve been looking for.

LDS Family Search – this is a wonderful site created by the Mormon Church. You neither have to be Mormon nor have Mormon ancestors to search it. (my ancestry is heavily Catholic, and they are listed)

Social Security Index – lists deaths from about 1940 to present. Gives birth dates and dates of death. Approximates the place of death by using the zip code of where the last benefit was sent.