Where Did I Come From? Part Two of a Series
February 3, 2019 Leslie Trichka Beery, VIS chair, Fort Morgan Chapter, NSDAR
What a whirlwind week! Snow, freezing temps across the country, highways closed, businesses closed and now sunny and feels like Spring is around the corner….
Snow days give us lots of time to trace our roots! These are perfect chunks of time that we can devote some attention to researching and understanding our family lineage. We have some more snow days coming up and I know your desk is all ready, you have organizational supplies setup, your computer folders are created and waiting for source documents and most of all, you are itching to get started! Let’s dive in!
In the previous post we talked about genealogy interest that turns to research and setting up to be successful before you even start gathering documents. Approaching genealogy with meticulous detail and organization is the best way to stay interested. It is possible to quickly become overwhelmed with piles of papers and the inability to find anything as you move along through each person in your family history. Developing good habits in the beginning will give you rewards in the end.
Picking up where we left off we will start on step five and go through step eight today.
Aunt Martha dropped off two boxes of documents, pictures, half filled out pedigree sheets and an old family bible. This would be a great way to start but not all of us have this luxury of having some of the research finished for us. So, if you do not have an Aunt Martha, this is where you start with yourself and start writing down everything you know. Full names, birth dates, birth location, spouse name and information, marriage date and place, children and their information and so on. Adding to each person special details and anything you can remember or know about them is good to do, special stories, career information, hobbies or special accomplishments. Go as far back as you remember writing down as much as you know, you can fill in details later with research. When you are completed with your own braindump of information you should have at least 2, 3 or 4 generations of information. At this time you can now contact other family members to ask questions and gather information about additional family members to add to the tree or fill in some gaps. During interviews or conversations with other family members it is a good idea to ask for any primary source documents they may have such as vital records, marriage certificates, land records, pictures, etc.. This is will help in any effort to prove a lineage. Dates and locations need to be proven and are one of the most important pieces of information when researching. Census records can help to further prove locations and give clues to other family members that may have lived together, next door, on the same block or in the same city.
Another link for a collection of useful forms to keep track of research is located here: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Genealogy_Research_Forms
This link will provide the following:
- U.S. 1790 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1800/1810 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1820 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1830/1840 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1850 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1860 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1870 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1880 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1900 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1910 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1920 Census Worksheet
- U.S. 1930 Census Worksheet (headings)
- U.S. 1940 Census Worksheet (online fillable form)
- Family groups, pedigrees, and research logs
- Family Group Record Form – LDS – Includes LDS information.
- Electronic Family Group Record (eFGR) and related forms
- eFGR MS Word format (close Dropbox, select direct download option,open in MS Word and save editable form to personal drive. This digital form can be filled out, edited, saved and shared electronically)
- eFGR pdf format– for easy printing
- Guide to Use of eFGR – explains how to enter personal data including multiple spouses and more children, and how to cite the source of each piece of information in this electronic Family Group Record.
- Sample eFGR– shows what a completed electronic Family Group Record looks like.
- Pedigree Chart Form – Interactive PDF form that can be completed before printing.
- Pedigree Chart Form – LDS Includes LDS information.
- Research Log (.pdf) – Plan research, list objectives, sources used, search results, and findings.
- Family History Library Research Assessment Form
- To Do List for My Ancestor
- Blank Analysis Chart for a Possible Match
- Blank Analysis Chart for My Ancestor
- Blank Time Line for a Specific Record for a Possible Match
- Blank Time Line for My Ancestor
National Archives and Record Administration
The U.S. National Archives charts and forms webpage contains a wealth of research forms for Federal records. Forms corresponding to Federal records are useful for transcribing or abstracting information from original records.
Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets
Federal Census Forms
- 1850 Slave Schedule
- 1860 Slave Schedule
- 1885 State Census
- 1890 Veterans Schedule
- 1900 Special Inquires Relating to Indians
- 1910 Special Inquires Relating to Indians
Nonpopulation Census Forms
1880 Census Supplemental Forms: Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes
- Schedule 2: Insane
- Schedule 3: Idiots
- Schedule 4: Deaf-Mutes
- Schedule 5: Blind
- Schedule 6: Homeless Children
- Schedule 7: Prisoners
- Schedule 7a: Pauper and Indigent
WWI Draft Registration
WWII Draft Registration
Family Tree Template – Download a free family tree template. Insert your ancestors in the editable fields. Print, and frame.
Using Censuses to Track Ancestors
Cyndi’s List has links to over 150 family history forms and charts that are available on-line.
Family record sheet – Used to keep track of family data. It features references for each piece of information.
Pedigree chart – This is a cross from a version found in Reunion and a chart from the LDS. Its main feature is that it is simple.
Pedigree fan chart – Holds 8 generations (255 people). It is also very simple.
General family relationships chart – This is `family graph paper’. Names of family members or couples are written in boxes. Optional lines highlight the relationships. Use with generations going down, or across.
Timelines – These forms allow you to chart family history events during an arbitrary time period.
Cemetery forms – These sheets are useful for people who wish to keep track of information in graveyards or sexton’s records. The first page allows one to map a cemetery and has room for cemetery contact information, as well as room for two gravestone entries.The additional pages have smaller maps (perhaps an inset from the first page) and room for six gravestone inscriptions.
Research log sheet – This sheet is fairly standard. It keeps track of research on an individual in a particular locality.
Correspondence log sheet – Used to keep track of letters/email you’ve sent to others for information.
- Five-generation ancestor chart – Standard five-generation pedigree chart.
- Family group sheet – Used for recording information about a nuclear family.
- Adoptive family tree – Used for recording both a person’s biological and adoptive parents.
- Stepfamily tree – Used for recording information about stepfamilies in your ancestry.
- Relationship chart – Used to figure out how family members are related.
- Biographical outline – Used to record information on events in an ancestor’s life such as education, military service, marriage and children
- Research calendar – A classic research organizer that’ll help you keep track of materials you’ve searched.
- Note-taking form 1 – Designed for filing your notes by surname and record type: “ROBINSON: Census Records.”
- Note-taking form 2 – Designed for filing your notes by couple or family group: “John and Mary Jones.”
- Online Database Search Tracker – Use this form to track searches in Ancestry.com and other online genealogy databases. You’ll avoid repeating fruitless searches, and, by methodically changing one search term at a time, increase your chances of finding the record you need.
- Repository checklist – Plan a research trip by recording details about the archive or library you intend to visit.
- Research journal – Here, list sources you’ve checked or plan to check.
- Research worksheet – This sheet is ideal for tracking research on long-lost relatives or 20th-century ancestors.
- Table of contents – On this form, list the documents in a file folder so you can find them quickly.
- Correspondence log – Keep track of general research requests you send to libraries and archives.
- Family correspondence log – Organize research requests sent to and from family members.
- Article reading list – Catalog genealogy articles you want to read or refer to later.
- Research checklist of books – List books you want to check for your ancestors’ names.
- Book wish list – Make a checklist of genealogy books you’d like to buy or borrow.
- Census checklist – On this form, note which US censuses you’ve researched for each ancestor.
- 1790 Census Worksheet
- 1800-1810 Census Worksheet
- 1820 Census Worksheet
- 1830 Census Worksheet
- 1840 Census Worksheet
- 1850 Census Worksheet (includes slave schedule)
- 1860 Census Worksheet (includes slave schedule)
- 1870 Census Worksheet
- 1880 Census Worksheet
- 1900 Census Worksheet
- 1910 Census Worksheet
- 1920 Census Worksheet
- 1930 Census Worksheet
- 1940 Census Worksheet
- Customs list 1883-1897
- Passenger list 1897-1903
- Passenger list 1903-1907
- Passenger list 1907-1913
- Passenger list 1913-1917
- Passenger list 1917-1942
- Deed index—Grantees – For transcribing basic information from town or county deed indexes (by the recipient of property).
- Deed index—Grantors – Transcribe basic information from town or county deed indexes (by the name of the person selling property).
- Statewide marriage index – Record names of brides and grooms you find in a centralized statewide marriage index.
- Military records checklist – Keep track of your search for ancestors’ military service files.
- Cemetery transcription form – Log locations, inscriptions and descriptions for family tombstones.
- Vital records chart – Learn when your ancestral state mandated keeping birth, marriage and death records.
- Military biography form – Write in service information as well as genealogical information, and add a photo if you have one.
- Artifacts and heirlooms – Keep track of details about family artifacts and heirlooms not in your possession.
- Tradition recording form – Record information about your family’s traditions and folklore.
- Time capsules – Create your own time capsule from these sample questions.
- Oral history interview record – Use this form to record pertinent information about oral history interviews you conduct.
- Heirloom inventory – Describe the origins of your heirlooms for better integration with your family history.
Preserving primary source documents
While on this journey you will most likely come across some original documents and pictures that are very old and need to be preserved. Finding a safe storage location for them is best but before they go into storage you will need to take steps to stop the breakdown of the paper. One the most widely used methods is to enclose each page, picture or document into an acid free sleeve and then into an archival box. This eliminates the air breakdown of the material and eliminates oil transfer and possibility of tears when handled. In the event of family books, bibles, or other multipage records it is best to use appropriate size packets that are then put into a permanent archival case. Remember, these are family artifacts and your proper handling will ensure that they can be passed on for many generations to come.
Making sense of who belongs where
By now you have started to find new family members that you did now know of. These names will be new to you and it may take awhile to fully understand or remember where they go and who they belong with in the family charts. Your organization and filing will help to keep sense of the line but also reading over the information numerous times will assist in learning about the new family members that you never met from the past. A common mistake is finding similar names or exact names and following that person as if they were your ancestor only to find out that they do not belong anywhere in your family tree! An article by Melanie Mayo | Editor, Family History Daily explains this and gives ideas of how to avoid this most common blunder among genealogists! Read Melanie’s article here: https://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy-help-and-how-to/are-you-sure-theyre-your-ancestors/
Valuable resources and online methods
Proving names, marriages, locations, births and deaths can be tedious. There will be some initial resources that you can use to find information quickly but in the event that you reach a dead end with certain branches of you lineage, you will need more and more ideas of places to find information or people to ask for clues.
The National Archives has a great starting off point at https://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy
A great list of basic Genealogy Databases is located at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genealogy_databases
A comprehensive collection of Genealogy tutorials is located at https://www.yvl.org/genealogy-tutorials/