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Genealogy: Getting Started

June 23, 2010

Genealogy: Getting Started

                Interview your living relatives (while they are here and easier to talk to) to find out their birth date and where they were born even down to the hospital if you can. Find out a christening, baptism, bar mitzvah, or other important religious date and place. Marriage and divorce records are also important. Make sure to have the relatives’ full name spelled correctly and all nicknames for that relative. Ask them to gather all of the documents they have on these events. You might wish to scan them into your PC later and then be sure to give them back. Record and organize all of this information. You may want to use this form I created or something similar. Have paper and pencil ready for your personal phone interviews.

 Researching Communications Log

Researching Communications Log Back

You might also want a paper pedigree chart and family group record. These charts are on computer genealogy programs.

Using a computer program will greatly enhance organization and many allow photos to be linked to your files. Here is a link to PAF 5.2, download a free genealogy program. Also download PAF Companion Basic

Family tree templates available in PDF form. These free forms can be used to  create your own personal family tree


                 When interviewing living relatives about deceased relatives be sure to get as much of the above information as possible along with the date and location of death and the date and location of where they are buried or the remains are kept. Take note of the cause of death as that may be an indicator of genetic disorders. Use the conventions listed below in writing your notes. Just start with 4 generations, which is more than enough work to do without moving on.

4 Generations, The Starting PlaceNot the ending place!
Generation Pedigree Chart Family Group Record
1st You, Your Spouse Your Children
2nd Father, Mother You, Brothers, Sisters
3rd Grand Fathers, Grand Mothers Father, Mother, Uncles, Aunts
4th Great Grand Fathers, Great Grand Mothers Grand Fathers, Grand Mothers,Great Uncles, Great Aunts


Write name as:

                Riley James CRINSHAW

                Jenna Evelynn EARLDALE

                First Middle (include all names) LAST (use maiden names) sometimes there are more than one last or first names. Some cultures track family maternally instead of paternally. Whatever name or names track through generations put in capital letters.

If the person goes by two or more names put “or” between them

                Abraham Delacey Giosepti Casey Thomas O’MALLEY or The Alley CAT

                From Disney’s movie, “The Aristocats”

Write date as:

                9 Feb 2005

                Day (one or two digits) Month (abbreviated spelling) Year (four digits)

Write places as:

                Colorado Springs, El Paso, Colorado, USA

                St. Martins, Birmingham, Warwick, Eng.

                City, County or Parish, State, Country

                                Use commas and when information is missing keep the space with a comma

                                Colorado Springs, ,Colorado, USA

Be Aware of Naming Issues

                Immigrant forced name changes

                Worker class names





                Different Spellings

                Biblical Tradition

                                ___son of___

Don’t move on until this much is compleated. Note all related people. Some non traditional family units exist; so note relational conections such as, but not limited to: adopted, guardian, life partner, domestic partner, ect. Whatever your political viewpoints are don’t bring them to genealogy. Be sure, the traditional family unit does not dominate as it used to do. All signifficant other relationships should be noted. However, be clear on blood lines also.

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