Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy

Step 3: Research! 

When conducting research there are three things to remember:                                                                      

1. Begin with what you know. This prevents following the wrong family line. 

2. Document your information: where did you find it? This includes the physical location (if applicable) and the citation for the source in which you found your information. If possible, either copy or photograph the original source if the depository allows. 

Many historic birth, marriage and death records can be found in a community’s vital records, and many of those can be found on Google Books, such as the birth record below.                                                                                       

  • Sample citation: (author, title, publisher, page) for the birth of Abner Allen, born in 1748, son of John, Jr. and Hannah Allen of Sutton, Massachusetts:  
  • Town of Sutton. Vital Records of the Town of Sutton, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849. Worcester, MA: Franklin P. Rice, 1907. Pg9

3. Be consistent when recording information, not only with what information is recorded, but the format in which it is recorded. Typically, the basic information recorded about a person includes the date and place of their birth, marriage, and death. The Family Group Sheet is a great example of this!

Additionally, other information such as their sex, parents and siblings, occupation, education, military service, residence, cause of death, burial place, immigration, or anything else you deem important is also collected.  The standard format for recording dates in genealogy is dd/mmm/yyyy: 20 Apr 2020