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Huron County, MI - Starting Genealogy Research . .

 
Patience - and hopefully a lot of it! This is probably one of the most time consuming efforts you will ever undertake. It is a learning process unto itself and no amount of preparation or counseling can prepare you for the amount of detail you desire. Only you can determine how much or how little effort to spend!
Organization - and discipline are needed to document ground that has been covered. At the same time, new documents are unearthed every day and added by dedicated individuals such as yourself. You need to periodically back track and verify whether any new information has been added by a source.
Focus - is needed to minimize backtracking and redundant efforts! It is easy (and often enjoyable) to spend several months getting really involved in (I know these things sound crazy) pioneer diaries, recipes, clothing, photographs, military records, battle re-enactments! However, if you can't remember where you left off, you can easily spend time researching something or someone that you have already attempted only because you have misplaced or forgotten the results.
Personal Information - gathered from family and friends will be the real beginning. A computer software program or at a minimum, handwritten paper arranged in a family tree are a must. (This is where you will begin to decide if you will include all aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. or will you focus on an individual surname, an ancestor or all your ancestors.)
Research - at the Public Library, private historical collections, local and remote genealogy societies and the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Family History Center (FHC) will become your new world. These places will provide you with education, knowledge of additional sources, microfilm, Internet access, collections, manuscripts, newsletters and most of all, contact with fellow genealogists!
Census - documents are the best place to start if you have any history in the US. Assuming you have any family information, you should have a fairly good idea of families and relationships back to the early 1920's or 1930's. Census documents going back in time are available from 1920 to 1790. I would suggest that you get them ALL going backward in time. I would start with the SOUNDEX census microfilm (you are going to have to find a library or Family History Center (Mormon Church) to view microfilm) and record by state, all those families that are of interest. You may want to focus on a particular state and go back to successive censuses, but in any case for each census you may want to compile all hits in an individual state.

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Copyright 2003 Judy Visner