How Do I Begin?
Always start with yourself. This means, dig out the birth certificate and marriage certificate and actually read them. Record all the information about yourself - date and place of birth, date and place of marriage. Then do the same for both of your parents and all four of your grandparents. Of course, if any of them are deceased you will also record the date and place of their deaths and burials.
Here is a good link to help get you started:
RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees
Remember: Data is only as good as the source! You must be able to document everything.
You do not need special books in which to record your data. A simple 3-ring notebook will suffice. Use a separate sheet of ruled paper to record facts about each family member. As time goes by, you will find it much handier to have two notebooks: one for your mother's side of the family and one for your father's side. Eventually you may wish to have a notebook for each surname in your family.
Now that you have done this, you may want to think about putting all your records into a computer program created for just that purpose. There are several good programs available. However, don't forget to keep your written records. Computers have an annoying habit of deleting all the records which you worked so hard to collect. Of course, you should make a back-up copy; Be sure to locate this copy in a safe place, preferably in building other than the one housing the computer!
The census enumerators were instructed to take the census as of a certain date regardless of the day the visit was made.
A baby born after that date was not included, but deaths were.
Census dates were: First Monday of August in 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820; June 1st in 1830 through 1900; April 15th in 1910; January 20th in 1920; and April lst from 1930 thru 1980.
Post these dates where they are easy to find when you need them.
I have mine typed on a note card and taped to side of my computer.
What little gem has worked for you? Let me know. I will post them here. Thank you.
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