Potter County, PA USGenWeb Project
Getting Started in Genealogy
I have found that the best way to start a family history is to
ask ALL of your older relatives to relate anything they can remember
about the family. You will find that some of the stories have been
"colored in" over the years to make them more exciting, but most have
a small kernel of truth in there somewhere. I have found that several
visits may be required to draw out the information. Try to get a copy
of your grandparents' birth certificates and marriage licenses.
Compiled by Dan Hyde
You need to work from "now" to "then," taking small steps.
Perhaps your interviews with older relatives will give the
death dates and places of your grandparents. Then you can write to
(preferably visit) the county where they died and also where they were
buried (if different) to find their obituaries. When researching
obituaries, read each line separately and record any information you
find. Many times, the brothers and sisters of the deceased person
will be listed with their place of residence and you can trace them IF
you are unable to trace your grandparents.
You should be able to determine facts about your grandparents and
possibly great-grand parents. I think you should record the full
names, date of birth and place, marriages and place and deaths and
place of all your DIRECT ancestors, for example, parents,
grandparents, great-grandparents. Also, record brothers and sisters of
all these people if you can find them. Record any second marriages
and the children of direct ancestors. I use family group sheets to
record this info. If you need a copy of the charts, you can
print them off the web (see below).
FREE Pedigree Chart & the Family Group Sheet
Another FREE source of Genealogy Charts http://www.genrecords.com/forms.htm
Having a computer can help you organize your genealogy information.
Compile facts such as full name, date of birth, marriage and death,
and PLACE of birth, marriage, residence and death. Place is important
for searching the appropriate court house and newspapers for obituaries.
The reason you need to record the dates and places is to identify
the correct individual later when you want to visit a library or court
house. A good approach to genealogical research is to visit the
county where your relatives lived and search in the historical section
of the County Library and the County Court House. Be warned that many
times, two or three individauls with the same name will be in the
county. Many times accurate dates and places along with lists of
sisters and brothers allows you to sort out the correct relative.
See the following web sites for information on getting started in
Genealogy Home Page
Getting Started in Genealogy and Family History
Other great sites
Roots Web Home
Cyndi's list of genealogy sites on Internet.
The following is a list compiled by Nancy Ann Jackson for a
workshop. She has graciously given me permission to use it. I have made some minor changes. Dan
Growing a Family Genealogy Tree
By Nancy Ann Jackson
I. Where to Start-Seeds and Roots
A. Yourself/immediate family; writing your Obituitary or Biography
B. Decision to do Direct Line or Direct and Collateral Lines
C. Difference between Primary and Secondary Resources
D. Importance of Documentation
E. Writing letters/submitting queries/importance of SASE
[Send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope if you want a response!]
II. The Trunk
D. Census Records - gleanings from Census Records.
E. Court House Etiquette
III. Branching Out
A. Wills/Fiduiciary Records
C. Land Records, i.e., tax records
D. Veteran's Pension Records
IV. Really Going Out On a Limb
A. Chancery Records
B. Minute Books
C. Divorce Records
V. Putting the Blossoms on the Tree
A. Sketches of Individuals
C. Historical Context in which the Individual Lived In
D. Ship Passenger Lists
E. Migration Pattern
VI. Repairing a Lost Branch - Finding an Elusive Relative
VI. Summary of the Care and Feeding Of Your Genealogical
A. Record Keeping
B. Once again, importance of documentation
C. Allowing the Tree to Stay Alive by Leaving its Legacy for the
Enjoyment of others.
D. It takes time and patience for a tree to grow
VII. Bibliography [References]
I know this is a lot. But I place emphasis on Primary Resources!! Nancy Ann Jackson
Back to Potter County, PA home page.
Page maintained by Dan Hyde, hyde at bucknell.edu Last update
January 5, 1999
No guarantee on the accuracy of the data found on this web site is given or implied by the site owner. As with all family research, the researcher should strive to obtain primary documents for necessary proofs. Furthermore, permission must be obtained from the original submitter of information on this site before publishing any information found here.
Copyright © 1996-2005
Daniel C. Hyde