Tips on how to
successfully trace your family tree
I received a
letter from Lilly Jones and she asked me to share her
beginning genealogists. I think it would be very helpful to a lot of
Some of the things
I've discovered are:
Talk to your parents,
siblings, grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. Call or write them and ask
questions. Take a notebook and pen with you. Write down names, birthdays,
death dates, where they lived, what they did and get a picture of them if you
can. Get every detail of information that you can find.
You can download family
tree software for free at the LDS site or Purchase family tree software.
Ancestry usually gives a free month or twos subscription with their software -
that makes the software free in a way.
Type your information into
your new software.
If you have a Kindle
(reader), you can get e-books really cheap. Amazon has a large selection of
If you are researching the
Civil War in Alabama, you might also want to look in TN. AL entered the war to
help TN protect Mills Creek & their border from the North. The Alabama troops
defended AL toward the end of the Civil War only. IE: "Early Settlers of
Alabama" by Elizabeth Saunders Blair Stubbs (Written from diaries penned during
the Civil War)
boundaries Maps of
different eras and when states were broken up to create other states.
How to tell if a document has true or false information
Missing persons on a Census
1. Draft registration
cards have a ton of information including:
a. Full name of your
b. Date of his birth
c. His personal address
d. His occupation: type
of work and who he works for
e. His wife's name if
he is married.
f. His Mother and/or
Father's name if he is not married.
g. A general
description of his height, build, color of eyes & color of hair
h. If he can read and
write, he will have signed it. If he can't, someone will write in his name and
he will put an X.
i. If he has any
physical injuries, they will be listed. IE my uncle lost his left leg, left arm
and left eye during WW I. When I was looking through some old pictures, I
realized who he was because I had a description. It also explained why he died
2. Census Records can
reveal a lot about a family. Each census has different information.
a. Many times there is
a person with a surname that is not the same as the Head of the house - most of
the time that person is the brother, mother, father or sister of the Head's
wife. That gives you her maiden name.
b. It was very common
for neighbors to marry neighbors so check them out.
c. If it's a white
family with a lot of black people in the household, they were probably wealthy
and either owned a lot of slaves or if it was after the Civil War hired them to
be house keepers, cooks and/or farm workers. Many slaves stayed on as hired
help if they had kind masters.
d. Some census records
have a person's birthday and not just their age.
e. It tells where your
ancestor was born and usually where his Mom and Dad were born also.
f. It sometime gives
the person's occupation and sometime where they work.
g. It tells if they
could read or write & what grade they finished in school.
h. It tells if someone
was deaf, blind, could not talk (dumb) or has another physical disability.
i. It sometimes tells
if a person was mentally ill.
f. It tells if the
person is married, single, divorced, widower or a widow.
g. It tells the year
and the place they were living during that census. This tells there are clues
in that section of the country that may be found with a visit to that town.
Make sure the court house has not burned down before you go.
h. Don't get
discouraged if you can't find a census with your ancestor on it. Everyone did
not make the census. I know a lady that worked her whole life and is now in her
60s. Somehow she got dropped through the cracks her whole life and has never
filled out a census form until 2010. She called the census bureau and had one
sent to her so she would be counted. I you are not counted, you could end up a
congressman short in the House of Representatives.
a. full name of the
bride and groom
b. date of marriage
c. where they were
married (this does not mean it's where they lived)
d. sometimes it gives
their birth dates
e. if it's in a church,
that is usually a sign that at least one of them belongs to that Religion
a. when a person was
baptized or christened
b. Who their parents,
aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and friends were
c. they may have a
picture of the family on file
d. Record of when the
person was born
e. Record of when the
person died and where he/she is buried
f. When the family
moved and where they moved to
Genealogy Research Sites
Ancestry has a learning center that is very helpful and will give you
excellent advice. They have been a great help to me.
Rootsweb is a free research
site. I had a stroke in 1999 and started researching my family on line. It's
the only thing I could do for about a year until I recovered from the stroke.
Researching my family (I had a basic start from my Aunt Lula's Bible) actually
helped me recover faster because I was using my brain and motor functions.
Rootsweb is were I started and where I hit the jackpot so to speak. I found my
cousin's website and it was full of information on my Mother's family. Rootsweb
has individual trees, census records, pictures of graves and much more.
Everything on the site is put up by volunteers.
The LDS church has the
largest genealogy site in the world because it is part of their religion.
It is free and a very good place to search. They also offer classes to learn
how to do genealogy on line or in their research centers.
I found helpful suggestions
research and it helped me figure out who my great
grandfather was. The McCrory family I descend from actually used part of this
formula until the late 1940s or early 1950s.
Tips from other researchers
Irish Heritage genealogy tips March 8 2016
NYC Genealogy tips
Personal Creations was
recommended as a good link to put on my website by Leah Murphy of Good Morning
Chicago. Thank you Leah for bringing it to my attention. Feb 2 2013
Genealogy was recommended by
Julia Krammer (in charge of Programming at the Goodwin Community Center) as a
good place to look for Genealogy from Military sources. Thank you Julia for
recommending it. June 20 2013
Mrs. McDonald and her daughter recommend:
Tree Removal We
wanted to share it with you as a thank you for your website and thought it would
make a great addition. Thanks again! Mrs. & Ms McDonald. Thank you both for
recommending this site. Nov 5 2013
Weaver wrote, "I'm writing to
you on behalf of my youth group.
I've been referencing your page
for the kids' genealogy
projects that they'll be working
on this month. So I just wanted
to say thanks for all the help
from all of us!
One of the
girls in my group, Bailey, also
found a great article on family
history and genealogy:
you include this on your page?
She wants to go to college to be
a history teacher, so I thought
this would give her more
encouragement, plus help others
interested in genealogy. :-)" 15
I'm Elena from Forever Curious We are a group of librarians and educators who are curating and creating the best educational resources for kids on the web. Our next piece is a series of lesson plans using genealogy as a way to teach students about history. I came across your great list of resources here while working on our next piece. Thank you! I thought maybe your site might also benefit from some of these other resources you may have missed. Thanks for all you do. Top 100 Genealogy Sites Resources for Military Families How to Travel to Find Your Roots Genealogy and the Law Billiongraves A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Family Tree Online & Military Indexes
She has summer camp tomorrow, if you get a chance to update!
Thanks again and I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
Jim and Sarah
I thought I'd take a quick moment to send you some positive feedback. I'm a media specialist and we recently started up a Genealogy Club on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I'm reaching out because your genealogy page has been a huge help ( http://pennywind.com/Genealogy%20Research%20Tipsi.htm ) so I wanted to let you know how much our club appreciates it.
As a thank you, I wanted to send you another article I found on "Researching the History of a House" that I thought you might want to include on your page: https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/a-guide-to-researching-the-history-of-a-house/ . I thought it was really fascinating, and when I shared it with the club last week they all seemed to enjoy it and found it really interesting as well. I thought perhaps it could be helpful to others visiting your page who may be interested in the genealogy of their home so I wanted to pass it along.
Thanks again and Happy Holidays!
I would just like to say a quick word of thanks! As a youth services librarian and educator, I've been
running a fun beginner genealogy class for 11-14 year olds online during this difficult time with school's
being out and social distancing, and thought you might enjoy hearing that we were able to get some great
use out of your website and research resource tips and links list. We were even able to use some of this
information for a mini-project last week! Thank you so much for sharing!
We noticed you don't have this one listed for Ellis Island, but Amelia was actually the one to bring up
that this could be something you might like to include for other young genealogy enthusiasts who could
also be coming across your information and have an interest in learning more about their family history
during the quarantine (like our group)!
I'm hoping to keep spirits up in light of what's happening across the country right now, and I think it
would make her day to know she was able to 'pay it forward' (we're pretty big on this principle in our
children's library group) and maybe even show her father her contribution if it ends up being included!
Thanks again for all your help here,
I will be adding more tips
as I have time. Please check back.
"Lord I Hope This Day
Is Good" by Don Williams