- How do I get started? Start at home, write down what you know,
then check with other family members. Usually this will give you a good
foundation from which to locate other information. Put your information on
a pedigree chart and/or a family
group sheet. This becomes your road map for your trip back in time.
- What can I find for free? Quite a bit:
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "LDS" operates
Family History Centers, that are free to use and you don't need to be a
member or worry be approached to join the church or give a donation. Their
hours are usually limited so you may want to call ahead.
- You can go to <www.familysearch.org>
and download, free, a genealogy program called PAF, which is short for
Personal Ancestral File. It basically loads itself, is easy to use
and has lesson available that step you through adding information. It is a
program that stores, organizes and prints your genealogical information.
- RootsMagic at www.rootsmajc.com,
Legacy at www.legacy.com and Family
Tree Builder at www.myheritage.com
. also have free genealogy software available.
- A number of free and partly free sites are listed here under
- Find a Grave
www.findagrave.com/ allows you to locate or post burial information to
- USGenWeb www.usgenweb.org/
volunteers who post records from their area and will do look ups.
- How can I best go about finding "cousins" on the Internet?
Go to <www.rootsweb.com> commonly
known as rootsweb. There you can connect
with people searching your same surname, and/or your particular
town, county, etc. Sing up for a list dedicated to your surname or county,
state, country of interest. Rootsweb is free and a great tool.
- Will you help me for free? If you are my cousin and connect to
any of my lines, you are welcome to have what I have found. If you want
research done or need consulting work, then there is a charge.
- I was told that I'm a descendants of "John Hancock", or some other
famous person, but I can't find a connection, how do I go about this?
You need to start with yourself and work backward. It may seem tedious,
especially if you have someone famous in mind that you want to be related
to. It almost never works starting at the back and working forward. Your
ancestors are just as exciting rather they signed the Declaration of
Independence or not. I know that mine are.
- Can you guarantee results? Results yes, depending on your
definition. The result may be that there are no records. Not the result
you want, I'm sure. I have been looking for many years for the parents of
Joseph Hammons 1819-1864 probably born in North Carolina. I haven't given
up but right now I know a lot of places that he did not live.
- I want to do this myself, why should I hire someone if I can do it?
If you can do it yourself you should do it. It is fun, exciting and
gives you a closeness to those who came before you. Sometimes you need
just a bit of help when you hit a brick wall. I worked for a year on a
family and gathered tons of information and just needed one little piece.
I hired a researcher in the County I was searching, and he came up with
what I needed. I consider it money well spent.
- My parents are divorced and my mother, or grandmother, won't tell
me about my father, how can I find out? We are assuming here that the
father (or could be mother) isn't around. Probably there is someone in the
family who will tell you. Try an aunt, or even a cousin who may have
overheard something. Most families have someone who will want to tell what
Keep asking. Some families think they are helping by keeping information
hidden, but everyone deserves to know where they came from.
- What if I find out that my ancestor was a "horse thief"? That
just may be the case. At least if he was you'll be able to find him,
probably in newspaper accounts, and you can bet he will be interesting. My
husband has an ancestor who went to work one day and never returned. As it
was in Missouri during the height of the Civil War we don't know if he
ran off or was murdered and I
can't yet tell if he was a good guy or a bad one, however the truth is
what the truth is and it will be OK. You have be be prepared for results
that you might not like. All of us didn't come from royalty, and that is
a good thing.