Getting Started With Genealogy -

step one - write down everything you know.  
  • This is a good form to get you started -
  • Create a folder for each of your grandparents - you should have 4, and if you are working on your husbands line too, you now have 8 folders, and 8 surnames, right off the bat.  Create a 9th folder and place the above chart in it for now. I use all "center" folders for these, it helps with my organization later.  All direct line ancestors go in "center" tab files.
  • Print at least 4 copies of this form.  Fill one out for each set of grandparents, as much or as little as you know.  Once they are filled in, make a copy of each, each form has two surnames, the wife's and the husbands...  so place the form in both folders, the original in Surname1, the Copy in Surname2.  

 Step two - contact every one you know - this is a good time, type up a small note to stick in your Christmas cards (I must have originally typed this up before Christmas time...) , letting them know you are working on the genealogy and would appreciate any information they have.  Let them know what you know already, and list a few specific questions like "do you know who our grandmother's parents are, or where they grew up?"  "Do you have any photos/birth certificates/military records you could scan and share with me, or allow me to borrow to copy? "      etc.  There are several family  surname geanealogy groups on facebook too.

Step three - go to and type in "(your surname) genealogy"  You'd be amazed at the family trees you'll find online - someone may have a lot of the work done for you!  Narrow your search by using your ancestors name and birthdate. Keep in mind that unless they have it documented with tax records, census reports, scans from family bibles..  it's not reliable. But it's a place to start.  Once you get information, you can look for documentation yourself.

Step four - go to and see if there is a forum for your surnames.  Use the search feature to search for names you know - like your grandparents.  Then try by location - if you know where your grandparents grew up, or where your family is from, type that in. 

Step five - this is a great place to find census records, and the ss death index

There is a lot more, but that gives you a place to start without leaving the house. 

I have a blog devoted just to genealogy -

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  1. I am so thankful that my mom has been working on our family genealogy for a while! I am very spoiled in this category!

  2. What a great hobby! That would be so interesting. I would love it if you would link up to my Tuesday's Tips at : Thanks!


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