Hello, I am glad you have returned. Now you are ready to find another ancestor. I hope you enjoyed the last couple of articles, taking a side journey with a brief history and comparison of search sites. I hope you found that information useful.
An extensive amount of work by genealogy lovers the world over are collecting records, indexing, and storing originals. This work shared by all, allowing us to find information about our loved ones. Giving us a way to know them, through these records, and have a timeline of their lives.
We are going to use the tools that are in place to aid us in our research. We will find some source documents and learn what to do with them. We will be working with handwritten or typed forms and build our filing system. If, you already have a genealogy program go ahead and print your pedigree chart and other forms to put in your filing system.
Later we will discover some genealogy programs and their features. But, right now, we need to understand the process. Once we know the process, we can then computerize and organize another filing system.
Find an Ancestor – Let’s discover
We will begin this section by you selecting an ancestor that has missing information. We will walk through the process of finding valid documentation about this ancestor.
We will perform this by showing you a search for my family tree example. We will be focusing not only on the information but the source and the reliability of the source.
So, at this point, choose someone from your pedigree that you need more information. Then we will go through the process together.
You might be finding different information than my example, but, that process will not be that different.
I will be showing the process I took to find information about my maternal grandfather
So, we begin – A bit about me
I did not grow up with my mother; my father took me away from her when I was 5yrs old and, raised by my stepmother (a long story). I was in my mid 40’s after my stepmother had passed that I tracked down my mother and started to build a relationship over the phone. I had the opportunity to meet my mother in person a few years back. As a result, I was able to find a bit about my maternal family. In that conversation, I was able to take notes about my mother’s parents, siblings, and met a lot of cousins. There were no records to see, but a lot of memories to talk about and a few pictures. It was a pleasant visit, and I took a lot of notes, enough to get me started, after all, the whole purpose of the visit was to get to know my mother and her family
Source Family Correspondence
The following are notes about my mother’s father. As you can see my mother had a bit of information to help, I get to know my grandfather.
Information is valuable
I didn’t even have a name; these are the exciting times I have mentioned.
As you can see, I have a first name, last name, date of birth, partial place of birth. We also visited the cemetery of my grandfather’s burial site. I have a picture of his headstone with birth and death dates.
I still would like to find a birth and death record to confirm that the headstone is correct.
Side Note: As you continue to go farther back in your search and find older cemetery records. It has occurred that a headstone has an incorrect date, (mistakes can happen), or it might only show a year and that year could be an estimate.
Always be cautious we want correct Sources and detailed information about each Source and its origin.
I will record birth and death information in my Pedigree Chart in pencil. Also, I will enter this information into my Research Log and record the Source as a picture of the Headstone and Correspondence Log.
I will also start a To-Do list for my grandfather and add that I need Birth and Death records to confirm headstone dates, plus marriage records using the about year for my search.
My mother also told me about her brother, who had passed away when he was 21yrs old. She also told me the names of my grandfather’s siblings.
I will enter information from my notes to a Family Group Form the name of my grandmother, my mother, and her brother. Also, I will start a Cross-Reference Log and record the other information from the Correspondence Log, i.e., great-grandmother and uncle names.
Let’s Research – Valid Sources
The information from the correspondence log gives me a starting point to conduct my next search.
We will be searching in Family Search.org for this research example. As you can see from the sample, click on search them records. Under Search Historical Records enter First and Last name, Birthplace, Birth year range.
Once you scroll down and use the search button, a list of potential records appears there are usually several people with the same name, but in this case, my grandfather’s name is on top.
Let’s move over to the right and view the document. On the next page you will notice for this record there is no image available, and this vital record index is a birth record.
Exactly what I’ve been waiting for, and what information have I gained:
- I now know the County, State, Country
- A confirmation of Birth
- Name of his mother
I will put this information in my Family Group Form and the Source which is the name of the Record Collection: Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes, 1911-1999, and the full document information: Citing this Record…in my Research Log.
You will also notice that I could attach this information to my family search tree under my grandfather’s name, but Instead, I will choose to open the Tools button and Add to Source Box.
Why would I not attach right now? I want to view the document myself. I would hope to see his Father’s name. I will keep checking back and wait till the record become available.
Side Note: I am sure this record has not been available for very long, someone would have indexed the information. And, the images to these records will be available soon.
In the meantime, as I continue to search, I will use the new information as I search for Census records, etc. So, I can find out where he has lived and more about his parents and siblings.
Also, notice on the first page that I squared in blue, the Social Security Death record of my grandfather.
The same applies here no image available yet. But I now have confirmation that the month and year are the same as Herbert’s headstone and I also the State he was in when he died. Awesome
How Did Your Search Go?
I hope you were able to find some information about the relative you chose in your search and have caught the research bug…it can be quite contagious.
Remember now to file all the forms you’ve filled out in the corresponding Surname hanging file folder. Make a manila file for the relative you just searched, also you could print screen page in Family Search the information you just discovered or if you found a document print it, and add to your ancestor’s folder, with their full name in the tab. If, you are filing using the binder method do the same.
I certainly hope you have found this article helpful on a quest to search my family tree and find missing loved ones.
You are the author of their story, and in finding them you are bringing them back to life, they will be living through you as they tell you their story.
Please comment and tell me about your experiences while researching. And, if I can help in any way.
Thank you for taking the time.