You are about to take a trip! A trip that just may entertain you like you have never been before. A trip that is going to teach you much about yourself. A trip that will help you develop skills you never knew you had.
This trip starts with one simple question, Where did you come from? Not your home town, or where you live now, but what got YOU to where you are now. Geographically, spiritually, financially, developmentally, and so on...
Then comes the question, How can you know where you are going if you do not not know where you have been? Don't just limit this to YOU, make it about your family.
What about your parents? Where did they come from? What did they do? What about your Grandparents? Your Great Grandparents?
Did the steps of those that came before you effect where and what you are today? YOU BET THEY DO!!!
BUT, it is up to you to find out all of this. And believe me, it is MUCH easier to do this today than it was back in the 1980's when I was bitten by the Family Tree Bug.
So let's get started! Pull out a notebook and start jotting down ideas as we go along here. THIS IS NOT A KNOW-ALL or DO-ALL, step by step How-To, it is just a quick over view of how to get started in tracing your family tree back to the 1860's so we can link you to a Confederate Veteran. You'd be surprised how many Americans today are descendants of Southern Soldiers who fought for Southern Independence and do not even know it...
Ed's Simple 'CHEAP' Steps to Genealogical Revelations:
1. Start with Y O U.
Write down your name, date of birth, place of birth, your parents names, your wife (or husband) name(s) if married, your marriage(s) date(s), the place(s) of your marriage(s), your children's complete names and their dates of birth. Can you get copies of documents that can be used to prove these items? GREAT, go ahead and start making copies of those now!
That wasn't so hard was it? Guess what? You are now an Amateur Genealogist!!! Congrats!
Now to get you upgraded to a Novice Genealogist. What does it take? Not much really, we just need to get you using a system to record your discoveries.
The easiest format I have found to start organizing all this data is a Family Group Sheet. Click-> FAMILY GROUP SHEET for an easy to use form from our site so that you can document your family groups correctly. Remember those copies I asked you about above? Keep those with this form so you can keep it all together.
If you have been married more than once, complete a sheet for each marriage. Yes, your Ex's are important here, ESPECIALLY if you had children with them.
CONGRATS! You are now a Novice Genealogist!
But the celebration must stop! Time is a wasting and you have more work to do. You must complete a Family Group Sheet for each family in your tree...
Next, work on your parents Family Group Sheet. Then work on your grandparents and so on down history's path.
As you will find out, your stack of Family Group Sheets will grow rather quickly. That stack is getting kinda thick isn't it? Maybe another form could help us navigate that info? YEP, and it is called a Pedigree Chart. Download a copy here, Pedigree Chart.
As you are filling out these forms, may I offer you a few things that will be helpful:
You have made some great first steps in discovering the
Who, What, When, Where and Why that lead to you!!!
Ready to continue on? See you on page 2.