Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Historical Records? What can they tell you

Family history doesn't have to be overwhelming, even though there's an endless supply of records to search. Censuses, military records and vital records are a great place to start—try one of them to get your feet wet.

Census Records

In addition to counting the inhabitants of an area, the census generally collects other vital information, such as name, age, citizenship status and ethnic background. Each census can paint an invaluable portrait of a family at a particular place and time.

Military Records
In the Military Records Collection, you can find enlistment dates, learn about famous battles, locate grave sites of war veterans and discover the unique details of military service that will help you chronicle the stories of the lives of those who served in the United States military.
Vital Records
Civil vital records—for births, deaths, and marriages—mark the milestones of our lives, and are the foundation of family history research. Chronicling the personal moments of our lives through the objective perspective of the public record, vital records can offer details often found through no other genealogical resource..
You never know which nugget of information will set you on the path to breaking down your brick walls. These research ideas can get your family tree started or launch it to a new level.

1. Start with what you know.
2. Search your home for diaries, photos and other information.
3. Interview your relatives, starting with the oldest as they aren't getting any younger and when they are gone so could your chance to gather the most interesting, informative, first hand reports about your family. Take a recorder or video tape your interview. it can become a valuble resource and addition to your history file.
4. Organize everything so you can access information easily when you need it.
5. Get ideas and a fresh perspective from other researchers.

6. Get valuable information from your extended family (such as aunts, in-laws and cousins). **See #3 for important note.