The Quintessential Guide to Family History Research

Sometimes the difficulty of doing research on one's family history can be quite challenging. When looking at documentation, there are several ways that records can be inaccurate. U.S. Federal Census records provide past family information but if the census taker, for example, is an immigrant, his lack of knowledge for the English language could cause misinterpretation on the records. The most common error is when transcribers can't read the handwriting on the document, which can typically lead to misspellings. Damaged or old documents can often confuse someone as well when conducting research on one's family history, especially if fire destroyed the records. Dates can affect a research plan because at one point the first of the year began on March 25th which can lead to events appearing as double dates to researchers, according to John Rowlinson of ExploreGenealogy.

Fixing the transcription problem for genealogists can simply mean the matter of operating on a double-transcription system, with two transcribers and an arbitrator to give feedback when transcription is inaccurate, will reduce the errors. Records being lost can be resolved by creating a filing system to organize genealogy papers. Using colored family folders from generation to the next is an easy way to distinguish families by time frame or location. In the folders should include vital records such as birth, marriage and death certificates, copies of census records, and maps of the area pertaining to where the relative lived or resided. DNA testing for genealogy is the new latest tool used to search past family history, according to Bennett Greenspan, Founder of Family Tree DNA. "Family History 101," by Marcia D. Yannizze Melnyk, informs readers that there are bad resources on the Internet that leads to a dead end with a ton of errors and mistakes.

When searching for a relative's birth certificate, one could search gravestones and cemetery records. Gravestones will show a birth-date or a birth year, which allows birth dates to be calculated. Also, looking for marriage records can further help you find your ancestors. According to how far back you want to trace your family's history determines the level of difficulties but with the Internet as a powerful source in today's society, finding your ancestors could be as simple as starting out with a good research plan.

There's many different tools, tips and services that are offered offline and online that can help with tracing family history and ancestry. Organizing records and establishing a research plan is the first step.

  • Family History: Search 26,000 family history databases. Explore birth, marriage, death, census and military records.
  • U.S. Federal Census: World's largest online resource for family history documents and family trees. More than 32,000 titles from sources around the world.
  • Old Handwriting: Old genealogy documents. The different styles of writing. An accredited genealogist and researcher deciphers old handwriting.
  • Research Guide: Birth, marriage, death records. Census and military records, cemeteries and obituaries. People and places, naturalization records.
  • Research Plan: What it means to organize? Folders to differentiate between generations. Genealogical author and researcher's suggested plan.
  • Researchers: Hire a professional. Making initial contact and working with the professional.
  • Filing System: List of supplies for genealogy organization. Folders, books, DVDs, and CDs, and more.
  • DNA: Over 282,012 records. The world's largest DNA database. Find your family's history through DNA.
  • Resource Book: Beginner's guide for researching genealogy.
  • Free Source: Free access to all U.S. states. Genealogical research by county and state. Special projects conducted at the national level.
  • Cemetery Records: U.S. cemetery records. National cemetery database search. Historical cemetery records search. WPA cemetery database. Cemetery transcriptions database.
  • Marriage Records: Free list of links to all marriage records. Looking for the groom or bride? Get the marriage date, email and location of ancestors.
  • Ancestry: Learn how to track ancestors using DNA. List of links and tutorials dealing with Y-DNA haplogroups, and mtDNA haplogroups.
  • Services: Find our ancestors. 30 year research service group. Paleography and translation. General records search. Free consultation and research and analysis packages offered.
  • Professional: 20 year researcher of family history. Professional genealogist. Workshops, reunion planning, lectures, seminars, and conferences.
  • Library: Family history library. Links to online and digital periodicals, web based and CD family histories submitted by patrons. Access to all family history websites and records.