- Step 1: Interview Record interviews with family members. Use photo albums, diaries, scrapbooks, news clippings, and old letters to jog memories.
- Step 2: List family history Make a family tree. List dates and locations of births, marriages, and deaths.
- Step 3: Access original records Access directories and census records at your local library. State records can confirm birth, death, and marriage information.
- Step 4: Make a system Devise a system to organize your information, using cards, databases, or numbering. Sort out any missing information, contradictions, or redundancies.
- TIP: Investigate records compiled by others, such as biographies and family histories.
- Step 5: Discuss with family Discuss your findings with family members and go over memories that might trigger additional searches. Record interviews so you can reference them later.
- TIP: Ask extended family for stories, pictures, or information they may have gleaned from intermarriages and family crises.
- Step 6: Announce searches Visit online genealogy message boards to announce your searches. Browse location-specific sites for new information.
- FACT: The phrase "six degrees of separation" was popularized by a 1990 play and refers to experiments on the interconnectedness of society.
You Will Need
- A notebook
- A tape recorder
- Internet access