It's Never Too Late to Begin . . .
Maybe you have always wanted to learn more about your family's history. Maybe you've wished someone in your family would search out your roots. Or perhaps you've been reading this column for a few years and would like to try it yourself.
The beginning of a new year is always a good time to begin a new project. In the case of ancestry research, the facts are just waiting to for someone who wants to discover them. Getting started requires only a pencil and some paper. The first step is to complete a pedigree chart, also called an ancestry chart, available online at several sites.
Kimberly Powell's About.com Genealogy page has a Free Interactive Pedigree Chart you can fill in on your computer, download and/or print. She also provides a number of links to articles and videos with more information and answers to questions about the charts and subsequent research.
At byub.org you will also find a blank pedigree chart in .pdf format on which you can type information and save the chart on your computer. When one chart is complete and saved, you can begin another. The charts are easily printed and ready to go on a research trip. Ancestry.com also has a number of blank charts to help you begin. Download the blank pedigree chart at http://c.mfcreative.com/pdf/trees/charts/anchart.pdf.
To complete a chart begin with you as person number one on the left side of the page entering your name, birth date and place, and marriage date and place. Enter your spouse's name and birth data on the line below. In the second column of blank spaces enter birth, marriage and death information, if applicable, for your parents; third column your grandparents and fourth column your great grandparents. If you don't have all the required data, ask your parents, siblings, or other relatives for assistance.
This chart is the basis for your family and the foundation on which you begin to do research. After filling in the data on this first chart, you may begin a new chart starting with one of your eight great grandparents in the number one position, if you have data about that generation.
Next purchase a good book, such as The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 1990 edition by Val Greenwood available via www.bookfinder.com for as little as $4 plus shipping. Read and reread this book and you will learn all you need to know. Another good book despite the corny title is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy, 2nd Edition by Christine Rose.
Now you are ready to join Ancestry.com and start looking for your family in online records such as the U.S. Census. Ancestry's online family trees are accessible without paying for a membership, but remember online family trees may contain inaccuracies and the information needs to be verified.
Another resource to consider is the Family History Center in Sahuarita. Volunteers there will be glad to help you get started. It's located at 17800 S. Camino de las Quintas, one block east of La Cañada. When you see the Animax Park sign, turn right at the next street, W. Calle de Cobre. At the end of the street to the right you will see the Family History Center. Hours are normally Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. You may call 399-1077 to verify hours.
In the past eight years, I have written many columns about the research process. All columns are archived at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~azgvgs/gvnews.htm. The earlier columns, particularly those published in 2005 and 2006 are full of useful “how to” tips for learning to do genealogy. Happy New Year and may all your family research be fruitful in 2014.