How To Trace Your Family History
[How-To Guides] [Family History Centers] [Online Genealogy]
|First, remember that although the Internet is a priceless asset to the genealogist, genealogy is going to require you to get offline sometimes. Genealogists love the Internet. But some of us are sloppier or less informed than others, and you can't take everything you find at face value. You need to get into the courthouses, the archives, the cemeteries. You need to go see the farms and towns where your ancestors lived. Genealogy comes alive when you begin to understand your ancestors as people. You don't just want a list of names and dates, do you? That's incredibly boring. Make your search worthwhile by trying to understand the lives they lived, the choices they faced, the decisions they made, their joys and their sorrows.|
The first book I ever read on genealogy was Searching For Your Ancestors, by Gilbert H. Doane. I recommend you read this book. It may not address some specific issues you'll deal with in your own particular search, but it will give you a good basic understanding of and appreciation for genealogy. Every good library has a copy of it. It's also still in print, updated by James B. Bell. (Mr. Doane has gone to join his ancestors.) If you buy books online, you can get it from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Better yet, support your local bookseller. The big corporations have driven lots of independent bookstores out of business, but if you're lucky, you may still have a good local bookstore like The Happy Bookseller. Try to do business with establishments like that; when they go out of business, we all lose. And remember: if they don't have it, they can get it -- probably faster than you can get it online.
There are also lots of resources online to help you. These are my picks:
If you're reading this, you'll probably be doing some of your research online. To learn more about online genealogy, check out these sites:
Go back to Patrick's Family History Pages.