Genealogical research: tips, how to's

Tips for doing genealogical research, sprinkled with a few how-to's

1. Be patient. Genealogical research takes time.  What to do, where to look.

2. Follow the Genealogical Standards explained by Board for Certification of Genealogists.

3. Use tools that will make your task easier. Software will help. Invest in good genealogy software and use it properly. Enter the research information you find. Enter your sources and notes. Add photos, make web pages, understand and share GEDCOM files. Backup/save your data and work!

SOFTWARE examples
Ancestral Quest
Family TreeMaker
Personal Ancestral File   
Genealogy software reviews --link--

4. Work from the known to the unknown. Checklists, charts and report logs will help.

Collect information on current generations first. Use the "start at home checklist".

Research in places, organizations, businesses and agencies. Start close to home, slowly expand your search area, (review this list).  Make notations on when, where, and what you were looking for, and what you found. A research log will help.

After you've exhausted your local resources, move on to the national and world arena.
National Archives and Records Administration
The Library of Congress  - How-to PDF.
The United States Census Bureau
The USGenWeb Project
The WorldGenWeb Project

5. Use the Internet as a research tool. (use it as a reference and a guide only)

Learn about and do Basic Word Searches using internet search engines.

Do word searches within/on each web page you view. Your browser software probably provides a simple search feature. It's generally called "Find" or "Find in page". Look for it on the browser menu under Edit. Find will search for whatever word(s) you type into it. Limitation, it can only search the web page you're currently looking at.

Use the search tools that each genealogy website provides. Individual websites sometimes offer advanced search features that allow search results for ALL of their site or particular sections. The results will be a list of pages, that contain the word you typed in.

6. Find and use the research links others have already compiled.

Example: studerhistory's genealogical research page for beginners.

7. Use newsgroups, discussion boards, bulletin boards and message centers.

Post messages on appropriate web sites. Email people and ask questions.

8. Utilize the services of "free genealogy web sites" as well as "pay for use" web businesses.

Most of these sites offer free, general information. Many genealogy sites offer membership fees which provide private access to specialized information. -- FamilySearch -- Kindred Konnections -- GenForum --

9. Use professional services.

Translations:  fast, easy.

Research links.   european  --  sites/links  --  tips/how-to's  --  vital records  --  blank forms/charts