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> Collecting Dead Relatives, Or, how to get started in this hobby
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Sekhmet 
Posted: 03-Feb-2005, 02:44 PM
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Greetings, folk!

It seems that there isn't a topic as of yet for the stone-cold newbie to this hobby (::cough::... obsession...::cough:smile.gif. For those of you already old hands at this, I'd love for additions to this thread for those who have just been bitten by the bug and would like help with starting from the ground up.

Welcome to a rewarding and thoroughly interesting hobby!

First things first. Before you start rifling through Grandma's photo album, before you start trawling the internet for people who may or may not share your DNA signature, and well before you start calling your relatives to see who was born where and when, there's a few things you'll need to do first. Trust me. You'll thank me later.

First thing, hit the office supply store. This won't be an expensive run. I promise.

You'll want to get the following:

1. Several notebooks. Spiral bound works fine. You're going to be taking notes left and right, and you're going to want to have "special" notebooks for this. Eventually you might be branching out into several topics, so if they're cheap, get a bunch. Little pocket notebooks come in handy too.

2. A pack of pencils. Automatic ones are fine, and don't need sharpened every two minutes.

3. A pack of pens. It never fails...you find a juicy tidbit and can't find a bloody thing to write with! Keep them everywhere you think you'll have a need for them. My purse, backpack and desk are littered with them.

4. Highlighter markers. One or two will do fine. You just want something to help you find crucial information at a glance.

5. One or two storage boxes. I tend to have a smaller one for small things, such as newspaper clippings, photos, funeral cards, and the like. The larger ones will be for the stacks of papers that are bound to accumulate in short order.

6. A couple of 3-ring notebooks for filing away charts, papers and the like, where they'll be reasonably protected.

7. Page protectors, to protect those precious papers you'll be generating and receiving, to put into said 3-ring notebooks.

That's it! For now. Take your treasures home and get ready to start gathering information. What you glean from your family's collective memory and storage will be the most important thing you to give yourself a good base to begin your research.

Next post: Who to pester for what information. The fun part!


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gwenlee 
Posted: 05-Feb-2005, 08:53 AM
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For those of you who are looking for 17th-century ancestors who may have been Scottish war prisoner, The Highlander magazine that came out this month has an article on research tips, and the previous issue has an interesting article on Scottish Slaves in the Colonies.
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Sekhmet 
Posted: 11-Feb-2005, 03:40 PM
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Ok, now I can finally sit down long enough to make the next post on here reasonably coherent. tongue.gif

You've got all your supplies. You've got spare time on your hands. Or at least you have time stolen for this purpose; I've been known to wander off projects when the bug-bite demands it. LOL Time to get this ball rolling!

First, I'd like you to sit down where things are relatively quiet, and start with yourself. The information you have on *you* is the best you're ever going to have. So...we're going to start with yourself. Some of this information is going to sound tedious and unnecessary, but down the road, this information could prove invaluable to yourself and your family.

1. Where and when were you born? What hospital, town, county and state? What time (if anyone ever told you)? Were you early, or did you take your time before making your debut?

2. Where did you go to school? Not just high school and college, but where did you go to kindergarten and primary school? Did you move around any and change schools? Note them down. Did you go to college? What was your major? When did you graduate? In some cases (such as my mother and myself), do some of these schools not exist anymore? All of this is good information to put down.

3. Have you traveled much? Were you an exchange student? What sports did you play? Did you belong to any clubs? Were you a Girl/Boy Scout? Belong to any church groups?

4. Where and when were you baptized? Were you at all? What church did you go to with your family? Were you confirmed? Have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah? Do you remember if anyone was your sponsor? If so, who was it, and how were they connected to you and your family?

5. What jobs have you worked at over the years? Did you work your way through college? Even the small, tedious and temporary jobs give some insight into you.

6. Have you married? Where, when and to whom? Include the church, town, county and state. Who was in your bridal party? Was it a big wedding, or a small affair? Who was the officiate? Where did you honeymoon?

7. And the less than happy side of the coin: Have you divorced? When was it finalized? Have you remarried? Jump back up to #6 to get those details.

8. Have you any children? Jump to #1 to have an idea of what to put down. If there are stepchildren, make sure to make that clear.

9. Include any other details that may be of note. Were you adopted? Is there any information available on this? Put down what you can, even if it's speculation.

And that's it for now. You just might've taken up several hours with just this alone, and that's perfectly ok. You want *your* end of the family tree to be as detailed as you can possibly make it. After all, who's going to know better about it than you?

Next stop: Workin' our way back!
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Haldur 
Posted: 28-Feb-2005, 06:14 PM
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This is some very useful information as I plan on getting some of my own family's ancestry gathered together! smile.gif Thanks Sekhmet!


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Hayduke 
Posted: 13-Mar-2005, 11:26 PM
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I'm away to the islands next month to find my Marshalls and Monkmans in Yorkshire, my Lewis's Glamorgan and my Pooles in County Antrim. After a bit of travel, I'll be stopping in Lismore in the south for some relaxation, good music and fine beer.

Or is it fine music and good beer?

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Never mind!

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Celtic cat 
Posted: 16-Mar-2005, 09:27 PM
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The real reason I got interested in geneology is because a tedious history teacher made our 10th grade class do it for a project. That said, I didn't get much at the time wasn't really interested but I later decided to pick it up again and am now particularly curious about my Irish side. I have to be difficult too, suppose they are more fun because they are harded to find. Some of you have lines already that go back to 1800's and so forth I would really love to get that far but I have one little problem.........*sigh*.
My grandfather doesn't have a clue where or when anyone on his side was born. What do I do with just names? Hurley has proved to exist, as for Conklin I haven't even seen a likeness to it.


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Sekhmet 
Posted: 17-Mar-2005, 01:52 AM
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QUOTE (Celtic cat @ 16-Mar-2005, 09:27 PM)
The real reason I got interested in geneology is because a tedious history teacher made our 10th grade class do it for a project. That said, I didn't get much at the time wasn't really interested but I later decided to pick it up again and am now particularly curious about my Irish side. I have to be difficult too, suppose they are more fun because they are harded to find. Some of you have lines already that go back to 1800's and so forth I would really love to get that far but I have one little problem.........*sigh*.
My grandfather doesn't have a clue where or when anyone on his side was born. What do I do with just names? Hurley has proved to exist, as for Conklin I haven't even seen a likeness to it.

Don't pack it in just yet. If you can, figure out where your parents were born, then your grandparents, and work on back. If they haven't moved around much, start checking census records and look for those surnames. If you can track down your grandparents' marriage certificate, it will likely list their parents.

When all else fails, throw it out to the internet. Rootsweb has surname lists for both of your names in question, I'd bet. Join up, send what information you can, and see what kicks up. You might even find someone who has your end of the family on back, even if they're a more distant relation.
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Celtic cat 
Posted: 17-Mar-2005, 10:11 PM
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Thanks for the advice Sekhmet. I will see about that marriage certificate first. Was trying to avoid sites that included membership, but will try what works.
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Sekhmet 
Posted: 17-Mar-2005, 11:18 PM
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QUOTE (Celtic cat @ 17-Mar-2005, 10:11 PM)
Thanks for the advice Sekhmet. I will see about that marriage certificate first. Was trying to avoid sites that included membership, but will try what works.

Actually, you don't ever have to hit a membership site. Figure out what county they were married in, and get it from the courthouse. Will cost a couple of bucks for the copies, but that should be it.
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DesertRose 
Posted: 28-Mar-2005, 12:16 AM
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QUOTE (gwenlee @ 05-Feb-2005, 08:53 AM)
For those of you who are looking for 17th-century ancestors who may have been Scottish war prisoner, The Highlander magazine that came out this month has an article on research tips, and the previous issue has an interesting article on Scottish Slaves in the Colonies.

gwenlee! I would be very interested in that information. How would I go about getting it? I have a 3x great-grandmother who was an indentured servant (slave) in NC with a Scots surname.


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Annabelle 
Posted: 28-Mar-2005, 02:24 PM
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Yes that is a wonderful publication!

Also for anyone of Gordon house there is a book called "Gordon's of Virginia" that gives boat loads (haha) of info.

This book is an antique book so you'll have to look for copies sold by antique book dealers or go to the Library of Congress in DC.



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Celtic cat 
Posted: 29-Mar-2005, 06:14 PM
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Sekhmet, I emailed my grandparents and they said that their marriage certificate only had their birth dates and names and did not include any info about their parents. I do however have the names of their parents and a possible birth date on the father. What should I do next? Thanks again for the tip.
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Sekhmet 
Posted: 18-May-2005, 02:43 PM
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I don't know why I never saw this post...a thousand apologies for not answering! I wasn't ignoring you! smile.gif

You can go a few routes with the information you have so far. One idea is to try Rootsweb and their surname boards and email lists. There probably is one for your surname; post all the information you possibly can, including locations, and you might luck out and find a relative with information already available. Genealogy.com has similar boards; same principle would apply. Don't forget to browse what has already been posted in the past; your family may have already come up in conversation somewhere.

Another idea is to try the LDS (Latter Day Saints), who have an absolutely huge database of all kinds of names, dates and information. I wouldn't take any information glreaned from there as an absolute in accuracy, but it's a good spot to start.

If you can find your grandparents' birthplaces, you might take a stab at locating their birth certificates and possibly their parents' marriage certificates. It would take either a trip to the county courthouses in question, or if they offer a lookup/copy & mail service, to avail yourself of it. Local genealogical societies sometimes offer that service as well; it's not very expensive, especially compared to making road trips that may be quite a bit away.

Try those...one of them should kick up something for you. Good luck!



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Celtic cat 
Posted: 20-May-2005, 09:32 AM
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Thank you so much, going to try the boards first.
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RebeccaAnn 
Posted: 24-Mar-2007, 09:59 PM
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Hope you all don't mind me getting in here. Before you all get too far with all your research that you start forgetting which book or box did I put that information in you need to get a good genealogy program. The best one for a beginner is to go to www.familysearch.org and download PAF ( Personal Ancestral File). The cost is Free. It is a fairly simple program. You start by entering yourself and your information. Then you add your family and go from there. You can make notes and add sources, pictures, etc. You can see and print out information for whole families and pedigree charts. This way you can easily see what you have and what you yet need. We started out with this program many years ago. We have been actively working on our family history and working at our LDS stake Family History Center (FHC) since 1984. If you need help, just ask and I'll try to answer as best I can.
One thing that I see no one mentioned here is before you can find much of anything from most resources, including LDS, you have to get your family back to at least 1930 because most available public record releases seem to go with the census years released and 1930 is the last released census. This shouldn't be a problem for anyone older 40 who knows their grandparents but we have found it to be a great problem for those in their 20s. If you are young and your grandparents are still alive you need to go to them and ask them about their parents to move the line back into available records.
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