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Family Tree Chart
Print a four-generation family tree chart.

Family Tree Maker 2005
The no. 1-selling family tree software allows you to create, print and share your family tree in many different styles and formats.

Family Tree Templates
Free printable templates, forms, charts, diagrams and more to help organize your family tree research.

Family Tree Research Terms
Learn the meanings terms and symbols used in making a family tree.


Family Tree Chart
Print a four-generation family tree chart.

Family Tree Maker 2005
The no. 1-selling family tree software allows you to create, print and share your family tree in many different styles and formats.

Family Tree Templates
Free printable templates, forms, charts, diagrams and more to help organize your family tree research.

Family Tree Research Terms
Learn the meanings terms and symbols used in making a family tree.
 

A great way to start
your family tree!

Print this FREE family tree chart to help organize your family tree research and discoveries:

Family Tree Chart
A family tree chart records the ancestors from whom you directly descend--those for whom you intend to compile a complete and correct family unit. It shows at a glance the progress you have made towards this goal and what remains to be done.

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More Tips For Starting Your Family Tree

Beginning Your Family History Research
– Kip Sperry
The first place to begin your family history research is with personal knowledge about your family. Start with yourself and work backwards. Next, contact family members and ask them about family information. If older family members are still alive, such as your grandparents, be sure to use a tape recorder or video camera to record information about their life. Ask specific questions, such as birth, marriage, and death dates and places, etc. Also ask open-ended questions, such as “Tell me about your experiences living during the Great Depression.” See my oral history column, Tips for Oral History Interviewing

It is helpful to record your family information on pedigree charts and family group records. Free genealogy charts and forms may be printed from the Ancestry.com Web site. A pedigree (ancestor) chart is available at: www.ancestry.com/save/charts/ancchart.htm

and a family group record is available at: www.ancestry.com/save/charts/familysheet.htm

Be sure to record full names of relatives, including maiden surname where possible. Also record dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Keep track of places where your ancestors lived since many records are arranged by locality in library catalogs.

You will then want to continue your research by using name indexes and compiled sources—records of previous research by others. It is usually helpful to first check compiled sources before beginning research in original records. It will be useful to see what has already been done by other researchers. A few sample compiled Web sites include the following:

Ancestral File

International Genealogical Index

Index to Pedigree Resource File

Note: While the Index to Pedigree Resource File is available at FamilySearch Internet http://www.familysearch.org, users must use the compact discs available in Family History Centers (which may be purchased as a set) in order to see the genealogical data.

Ancestry World Tree

RootsWeb

There are other compiled genealogy Internet sites and genealogies on compact discs available from other organizations. Additional compiled sources include family histories and genealogies, pedigree charts, and biographies. Information found in compiled sources, such as undocumented genealogies on the Internet, need to be used cautiously. Be sure to verify the information in original sources.

Original records include birth, marriage, and death records, church records, census schedules, probate records, court records, and so forth. Your goal should always be to search original records whenever possible.

It will be helpful to keep track of your family data by using a genealogy software program, such as Personal Ancestral File (PAF) 5.1, which is available for a free download from the Internet. See my article, Understanding Personal Ancestral File and FamilySearch.

A five-step research process has been developed that may help you understand how to do family history research:

1. Identify what you know about your family
2. Decide what you want to learn about your family
3. Select records to search
4. Obtain and search the records
5. Use the information


This process is explained further at FamilySearch Internet www.familysearch.org. Be sure to use the new Research Guidance portion of this Web site.

Tips for Beginning Family History Research

  1. Work from known information to the unknown
  2. Get organized! Record your data on pedigree charts and family group records. It may be helpful to keep your genealogy research in a three-ring binder. Consider using a genealogy software program, such as PAF.
  3. Search family and home sources, such as family Bibles, certificates, photographs, diaries and journals, genealogies, letters, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, military records, legal papers, baby books, etc. Ask relatives to help you identify family photographs.
  4. Interview older family members. Tape record and then transcribe your interview, or videotape the person. Share the interview with other family members.
  5. Use family traditions cautiously (but realize that they may provide important clues for family history research).
  6. Search compiled sources, such as genealogies and indexes, before beginning research in original records.
  7. Be aware of spelling variations, especially variations of surnames.
  8. Cite your sources accurately and completely—keep track of the records searched and provide the complete citation, such as title of the record, microfilm number, volume number, and page number.
  9. Study the historical background and migration patterns of the places where your ancestors lived by using local histories, maps, and gazetteers (geographical dictionaries).
  10. It will be helpful for you to associate with other genealogists through your local library, genealogical society or club, church group, etc.
  11. Attendance at genealogy workshops and seminars will provide additional help and provide contacts with other genealogists.
  12. Beginning genealogy lessons are available on the Internet, such as RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees
  13. Read basic genealogy guidebooks, such as Ancestry’s Red Book
  14. Share your compiled genealogy with other family members. If you publish your genealogy, donate a copy to your local library and be sure to send one to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. You may wish to create a home page on the Internet. If so, be sure to cite your sources and do not list names of living individuals without their permission.

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