The old family bible treasured by genealogist is the number one go to for information if one exists. Some families recorded just about every birth, marriage, and death in that old family bible. Sometimes several generations are recorded. This would be my first go to if one exists. Don’t just copy the information on your family but all if possible. Take photos of entries and log them into your resources. Take pictures of the whole bible I mean to show what it looks like, take several. List the family name and its owner as well as their phone number and complete address as well as email address. You will also want to list the date, place and time of this viewing. I would also do an interview and tape it with pictures of these family members who have kept this bible special in their lives. You may also want to check online to see if family members have posted any bible statistics.
Handed down through generations of family, family bibles record generation information on history inside it. The most common information it contains are of births, deaths, baptisms, confirmations and marriages and an excellent source for genealogical research.
Finding photos of your family begins with your own family. Then contact living relatives beginning with the oldest and see if you can find the old family photos. Remember to be polite and ask if they would have the time to show them to you. Ask if you can bring a camera and take pictures of them. Search newspapers, yearbooks, local histories, business directories and military records and passport applications. Libraries and historical societies should be contacted in the areas where your ancestor lived. Check for local oral history collections. If you find old photos don’t forget to look on the back of them for further clues and photograph anything written there.
Interviewing family (oral history) helps to understand family situations and can put an end to rumors. Contact the elders in the family as soon as possible. Record their interview as you will need to get their permission on tape at the beginning say the date into the microphone or phone and say this is name of person and they were born date of birth in location say, city, parish or county and state. You can mention their relation to people you are going to talk about. Make sure you have your list of questions. Make sure these questions will answer the questions you are wanting to find out plus more. Some sensitive questions should be mixed with simple ones, not to disturb the person you are interviewing, especially if they are elderly. This one was covered in an earlier post.
Birth certificates can tell you not only when someone was born but where, and give important details about the child’s parents, often including when and where they were born and their occupations and more. You can obtain these through the parish courthouses via their vital records applications and some states provide online service, or you make a request by mail. Before the 1900s, birth records were filed by parishes, but most have been transferred to the state vital records. Births of earlier dates can be found in courthouse records, plantation journals and baptism recordings.
Baptism records list dates of the baptism and births as well as parents and sponsors who again may be family or friends. Although found in church records and be also found in bibles of the family as well as Father Hebert’s Books. South Louisiana Records, Southwest Louisiana Records. Check out the church for which the family belongs. Were they always that religion or did they change? Call to contact the churches and find out where their records are kept. Sometimes they are kept at another location.
Check out Part II: More resources