I have been asked several times about getting started in genealogy. I am delighted to help anyone get started with their family history project. Once you get started, you will get hooked and it will become a life long hobby. I have been doing genealogy research since 1981. I have included some Internet links to help you get started. There are additional links listed at the bottom of this page.
The first link, is for a basic guide to help get you started. Guide ..... Updated: September 1, 2013.
History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy ..... New: December 6, 2015 This is a commercial site not directly related to Genealogy. However, this particular article has many helpful links for Genealogy.
"Cyndi's List" is an Internet based genealogy index. It will help you find a lot of genealogy related Internet sites. Cyndi's List
There are several dozen genealogy software programs. Some are free and some can cost over a hundred dollars. Look on Cyndi's List for a software program that works for you. It is best to get a program that resides on your computer and that can export GEDCOM files.
Programs that only work online are a risk. Many online programs are offered for free but require money for upgrades or premium features. They can be slow and potentially limit access to your data or not fully protect your data. The same holds true for genealogy apps that work on your smart phone or device. You do not need an expensive genealogy software program or subscription to be successful in your research. Some subscriptions may be available at your local library. Genealogy can easily turn into an expensive hobby. Be wise in spending your money. Subscriptions, especially on line, can get expensive.
No matter which program you use, remember to include or cite your sources of information even if it is verbal and came from a family member.
Research should begin with your existing family members. Some will have a great deal of information and some will know very little. After you have gotten some basic information, you can start looking for official records and go fishing on the Internet. Be careful with the Internet, you can spend a lot of time and money for little return.
I have found that women are generally more into family history then men. There are exceptions. Some relatives will be open and very interested while others won't want to talk about it. When doing interviews, the interviewee will invariably get emotional about twenty minutes into the conversation. Don't let it throw you, it is a natural response and is generally trigged by an emotional memory. A kind ear will get you a long way.
For distant family members, you may need to get to know them before they will open up. They may be wondering about your motives. It was my second trip to Canada that I struck gold. Get organized, don't throw anything away that has information on it (file it). It could help you later. It is ok to spend money for official records like birth and death certificates. Be careful about spending money for research and Internet data bases.
Commercial Genealogy WebSites (with some free information):
Free Genealogy Web Sites:
Internet Search Engines:
Other Web Sites:
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