One of the first things to do in getting your family research together is to meet with family members to obtain the information you have access to by word of mouth.
Write down pertinent information such a correct spellings of their names, dates and places. If you prefer to use a computer, there are several programs or apps you can use to record this information.
You can ask a few question at a family get together to grandma, as her life expectancy keep in mind she will not be here forever. This is why you should begin with them first. You can call and ask to come visit and tell the family why you are there to visit. Always keep in mind to be pleasant and not intrude.
- Ask them about their life to include how they felt about things that happened in their life such as their honeymoon, a death of a child or why they do certain things a specific way?
- Ask them about their time as a child or a teenager and what it feels like to be elderly.
- Ask them about how to cook certain foods you wish you could cook. Get recipes and hand them down to friends and family.
- Ask a couple how they met and what was it that made them decide that the partner was the one for them.
- Ask for husband and wife’s parents names and about their siblings.
- At the end of the conversation, then ask them for dates with places where they were born, married and had their children.
- Get the names of their children and if any of their children died at birth, did they name them.
- Now during those conversations you need to ask them if they have any family stories that they can share with you.
- You can ask them what ever else you want to know, but please be kind and courteous and don’t always expect to get the answers. If they prefer not to answer don’t insist, leave the conversation saying that you wish they could share more information and leave your phone number for them to call if they change their mind.
Talking to your immediate family maybe easy or difficult depending on the relationships of each family member. Talking to your brothers and sisters about different things that happened in your lives. Don’t forget to talk to their spouses as well.
NOTE: You can record video or audio conversations on your phone or bring a recorder or camera with you, but you must inform them at the beginning on tape for video that they consent to the recording. They are to state their full name and the date and say that they agree on being recorded.
This only touches on the beginning of what needs to be done to research your family’s story and this is the best part of enjoying your family and being proud of who they are and what they have done with their lives.
Everything is important, everything happens for a reason and God tell us there is a time and a season for everything. God Bless You all and enjoy your Family Research journey. Any Questions?
Organize what you know and prepare for what you are going to find
Choose your Methodology
Physical papers and documents will need a storage place, begin with a folder and then a place for the folder like a box or file cabinet. Start with a father and his family using Family group sheet for the recording and then put any documents and photos or newspaper clippings on that family in the folder. You will notice that the folder will accumulate in no time. Then separate by the children’s names and so on.
My manual storage in one family tree for documents is stored in date order as it begins with first ancestors in early 1700s. I have 4 storage boxes and the 1st one is in date order. When I get to a certain generation, I then put them in name order for it is easier for me to find.
Photos, newspaper clippings, articles, documents like land records, wills, successions and membership information in books and magazines are copies with source information and some cases just purchased the book or magazine.
I don’t want to scare you off with my collections since 1982 but making sure you have the space as you continue your searching takes years of wonderful exploring your family and their history, immigrations, citizenships, countries of origin and much more. I also have computer storage both in program and online in several sites.
There are many programs for computers or apps for computer storage just make sure you have your information backed up in several places such as flash drives and computer drives, just begin with your computer, and then keep backing up until you need more space, them move on to flash drives and passport drives as needed. The program I use is Family Tree Maker and I have updated once I need the newest which is available.
All costs for your needs are your decision to make you can spend very-little money or a lot. To me purchasing the FTM program was a one-time thing and I store it all on my computer drive. Later, when I could afford to invest in a membership, which I have on hold at this time, I can restore my membership at any time.
Computer storage can also include website built for genealogy such as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com, Geni and many more take your choice. Some are free and you just have register in their site, but many have subscriptions or membership sites and as long as you pay your bill you are given access. On these sites you can post and store your files in FTM or other formats and you need to download them when you leave the site or your membership is going to expire. Once the membership is over, you will not have access until you renew the membership.
Remember what you are doing is important not only to you but also your family as you are preserving your history, culture and names. Also remember God loves you and he is blessing you every step of the way.
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