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Beginner's Genealogy Workshop


Presented by Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society

The following is information from our popular Beginner's Genealogy Workshop. We hope this helps you get started!

I. Start with yourself and your immediate family

A. The Basic information you want to gather is:

  1. Birth date
  2. Birth location
  3. Death date
  4. Death location
  5. Marriage date and location
  6. Source documentation

B. Then start working backward to your parents, then your grandparents, your great-grandparents, and so on....

C. Gather all you can. You never know what clue will help you in the future.

D. Use notebooks, computer software, family group sheets and pedigree charts to organize your material.

E. Family sources:

  1. Scrapbooks
  2. Picture albums
  3. Bible records
  4. Written histories
  5. Organizations that your ancestor's belonged to
  6. Letters
  7. Wills
  8. Newspaper clipping and obituaries
  9. Military discharge papers
  10. School records
  11. Many others....

II. Where to Look - Sources

A. Local/County/State Records

  1. Birth records
  2. Death records
  3. Marriage records
  4. Newspaper records
  5. Court and probate records
  6. Deed records and atlases
  7. County histories
  8. City directories
  9. Cemetery records
  10. Church records
  11. Immigration records
  12. Tax lists
  13. Membership lists

B. Federal Records

  1. Federal Censuses
  2. Military Records
  3. Social Security Records
  4. Land Records
  5. Passenger Lists

C. Other Great Sources

  1. Genealogy and Historical Societies
  2. LDS/Mormon Records
  3. Library Records-Lake County, Valparaiso, Ft. Wayne
  4. Periodicals
  5. Internet and Computer Options

III. What's in a Name?

IV. Census Facts and Fallacies

V. The Internet and Computer

A. Cautions - Where's Your source? Don't just accept something as accurate because it's on the Internet. Check the source!

B. Good Sites to start with

  1. USGen Web County Sites: USGen Web has created a site for every county in the USA http:www.usgenweb.index2.html
  2. Rootsweb: Rootsweb is a free genealogy site that contains considerable information. http:www.rootsweb.com/
  3. LDS/Mormon Site: The Church of the Latter Day Saints has a good website for US and International research http://www.familysearch.org/
  4. Ancestry.com: Ancestry is a commericial site. You can use some of their resources for free. http://www.ancestry.com
  5. Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne: Allen County Public Library has one of the largest genealogy libraries in the country. http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/
  6. Porter County Public Library Genealogy Department: http://pcpls.lib.in.us/genpage.htm
  7. Cindi's List: This is a website of websites. It helps you connect to over 100,000 websites related to genealogy! http://www.cyndislist.com/
  8. World Connect on Rootsweb: This is part of Rootsweb and links information that is submitted by people. It's a great way to connect to others who are searching for your family names. http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/
  9. Social Security Death Index: http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/
  10. Message Boards: Both Surname and Location: This website is the doorway to find message boards for each county and many surnames. http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexes?htx=main&r=rw
  11. Bureau of Land Management: http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/logon/logon.asp
  12. Porter County GenWeb Site: http://members.aol.com/kjtcet2/porter.htm
  13. Lake County GenWeb Site: http://www.rootsweb.com/~inlake/
  14. Indiana Genealogy Society: http://www.indgensoc.org/

C. Computer Software Recommendations

  1. Family Treemaker
  2. Generations Family Tree
  3. Legacy-Free Download http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/Download.asp
  4. Brother's Keeper
  5. ...and many others

VI. Cite Your Sources!

VII. Genealogy and Lineage Societies

VIII. Summary

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