Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos


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They range from free to rather expensive.

Genealogy Records Storage: Tips & Software to Preserve Your Family History

See our guide here. In general, the more a program costs, the more features it has. Pick a less complicated program to start. You can always export your family tree from one program to another later. Some websites, such as Ancestry and FamilySearch. Just be aware that if you use a subscription website to organize your data, you may need to keep paying every month instead of just once for software.

Probably the most popular genealogy program is Family Tree Maker. It offers every feature you will need without going overboard, and there are how-to guides for it everywhere on the web. Likewise, if you have a child who is adopted, it is usually best to use his or her birth surname, too, if known. Most census records are now digitized, searchable, easy to access online, and full of great information to start building your family tree. When your ancestors came to the United States, what was happening in the country where they lived before?

Understanding the world in which your ancestors lived is vital to understanding who they were, and making their lives truly come to life. One of the best things about genealogy is that you're constantly a student. The more you learn and study the field of genealogy, the more addictive it becomes. It's important to stay up to date with the latest news, especially as it relates to the big genealogy sites releasing new digital record collections. There are countless sites out there to follow.

One website in particular that we love is Genealogy Explained. There are more than a dozen kinds of records commonly used in genealogy and many uncommon ones, too. Each type of record will be good for certain types of information, but less useful for others, so it is important that you know about all of them. Many of these records can now be found online check out the website list later in this guide , but for some, you still need to go to the source, whether it be a courthouse, a church, a library, or wherever. This census has been taken every ten years since , and most of the records still exist today unfortunately, most of the census was lost in a fire.

While other components of the census sometimes exist, such as an Agricultural Schedule or Manufacturing Schedule, most of the time the Population Schedule provides the greatest amount of information for genealogists and family historians. From to , census takers listed the name of the head of each household, together with the number of people living in each household divided into age ranges and by sex.

Unfortunately, that means that these records may be of limited use in tracing family lines, as there is no way to connect children with parents or even husbands with wives. Beginning in , the census lists every single person in each household, including valuable information such as place of birth and age. Later records list actual month and year of birth, or even exact date of birth, depending on the census. They may also list occupations, places of work, income, the value of real and personal property, education level, and more.

But any census from on can be a very helpful resource in linking parents with children and trace elusive ancestors through their brothers and sisters.

Legacy 9.0

One of the most important considerations in using census records is understanding how the information was gathered. The Theory : during a certain range of days, a census taker visited every single house or another dwelling within his territory, spoke with the people living in each, explained what information was needed, and carefully gathered and recorded it. The Reality : although the vast majority of the information on the census is accurate or very close there are several reasons why a particular record might not be.

Fortunately, even if not exact, in most cases the information is close, and may provide the clues needed to lead you to more accurate and thorough records. Just try not to be frustrated when your ancestor John appears as Johnny, age 5, in ; Jon B. Historically, census information was collected over a period of a month or more, but every census year had a specific date such as April 1 , and all information was supposed to be based on that date. If someone in the household was alive on April 1 but had passed away by the time the census taker arrived, they should still be listed on the census.


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In reality though, things did not always work out that way. Susan was listed as age 13, and the deceased was nowhere to be found on the census. But in , the date was moved to April In , it was moved to January 1. In , it was changed to April 1. From one census to the next, your ancestors could be living in a new township, a new city, a new county, or even a new state, all without moving an inch! You need to be aware of this, and may need to do a little research to find out what a location was called in a certain year.

For example, searching for your ancestors in Snyder County, Pennsylvania in is guaranteed to turn up zero results, because Snyder County was not formed until And for much of U. Foreign names and those spoken with a heavy accent were also often misspelled.

FamilySearch - Preserve Your Photos and Family Memories

Soundex is a special system that was set up to help you do just that by organizing similar sounding names together such as Smith and Smythe. In the s, Soundex indexes were created for the to census schedules, and have since been created for many other records, too. Some genealogy websites such as Ancestry even include an advanced search option to use Soundex when searching any of their records.

Soundex uses a letter the first letter of the last name and three numbers representing additional consonants, if any, to group the names Smith, for example, becomes S; Washington would be W It lumps similar sounding consonants together like d and t, or m and n to make it easier to catch spelling mistakes. Many times, this can help you find missing ancestors, especially if their names were misspelled on the census or other records. Galloway and Galey, for example, both share the same Soundex code, G, but there are many, many more Galloways than Galeys.

Given all the problems of finding specific census records and considering that the information may not be correct, is it even worth using them at all? Every available page of every year has been digitized, indexed, and put online by sites such as Ancestry and FamilySearch. Census records are one of the few good sources for locating and tracing parents, siblings, and families across generations.

They provide excellent clues about not only places and dates of birth, but tell you exactly which counties you should be searching for wills, probate records, birth, marriage, and death records, church records, and so much more. Quick Tip : in some census years, a few people on each page were chosen to provide extra information - be sure to check the bottom of the census sheet, and you might get lucky.

How to Build a Family Tree

More on the U. S census. Whoever was listed on lines 14 and 29 were required to give additional information. Like birth records, most have been kept at the state level since around and the county level before that, and many are available and searchable online. The Social Security Death Index tells you the date of death, date of birth, when and where the SSN was issued, and the city where benefits were last paid.

It is fully searchable online and easy to use. In many cultures, the place of marriage could be a great clue to find the bride's birthplace as the marriage often took place in the same town.

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Churches maintain marriage records too, and before the mids, that might be the only place that kept them. It may also list the date of birth. These records vary widely in the information they contain, but can be great sources for names of children or other relatives, and clues about where to look for property or other records. Sometimes indexes are published online or by local genealogical societies. Deeds and other land records track land ownership, and will list the name of the buyer and seller as well as the date. They can sometimes help trace family lines, but are most useful in proving residence in a particular county.

The Bureau of Land Management glorecords. If your ancestors emigrated to the United States, they had to get there somehow, and for most of history, that meant a ship. Passenger lists generally list every passenger, so they are good for linking spouses and children, and often list ages, too.

Many passenger lists are now online. This index can also be found online at worldvitalrecords. Applications for naturalization can include great information including name, date of birth, place of birth, date, and place of immigration, and more. Many of these records can be found online, or check out county, circuit, or district court records.

Several drafts have taken place in U. They can give you name, date, and place of birth, place of residence, and even sometimes a physical description. Records from the draft are available online. For other drafts, check out the National Archives and Records Administration www. Families often recorded every birth, baptism, marriage, and death in their family bible, sometimes for several generations. Check with all your living relatives to see if there is a family bible lurking on a bookshelf or in a closet somewhere. There are a variety of obituary indexes online, such as Legacy.

Cemeteries keep records of every interment which may include a lot more information than you think, including not only date and place of death but the place of birth, parents, spouse, and even names of children. Some cemeteries have their records available online, but many you will need to contact them individually. There are no formal indexes of cemetery records online, but one great source to start with is Findagrave.

Photos of many tombstones are available at Findagrave. Sometimes several generations of a family were buried within a few feet of each other, so be sure to check out nearby tombstones as well. The best place to start of course is with your own family. Reach out to every relative you can and see what they might have lurking in their photo albums.

Most genealogy websites allow you to do photo searches, too, though their collection size can vary a lot. One site called DeadFred. Written records are not the only source of information; one of your best sources is other family members. Talk to your family, especially older relatives, and you will be amazed at some of the stories you learn. Personal stories add texture to your ancestors, fleshing out those names and dates into real people. There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites dedicated to genealogy and family history, but not all are created equal. It also lets you build your family tree directly online, or upload a family tree from your computer.

Once your family tree is online at Ancestry, it will try to find common ancestors with other users who may have already done a lot of the research on your family themselves. Ancestry is only available by a paid subscription, but most public libraries have a subscription, so you can go to the library and use theirs.


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Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos
Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos
Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos
Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos
Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos
Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos Our Family History: Tips for Finding & Preserving Family Materials, Records & Photos

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