Tag Archives: records

What Genealogical Records Might be Hiding in Your House?

There are many places you can find family history information. As you search for valuable records in your home, think about looking at some of these sources. 

Florence Nightengales birth certificate

Bibles. Old Bibles may contain a few pages devoted to genealogical records of the family (births, marriages, and deaths). Information found in a family Bible should be carefully evaluated and, where possible, confirmed by other sources.

Diaries and Journals.  Study journal entries for genealogical data.

Biographies. Unpublished biographies are often found among loose family papers. Although a biography may be unscholarly and poorly written, it will be a treasure to the family historian.

Letters. Old letters are the most informal and intimate family sources. Addresses, names of correspondents, postmarks, and dates are useful information to a genealogist.

Memorial Cards and Funeral Programs. Genealogical data on funeral memorabilia include date of birth, place of birth, date of death, place of burial, and age at death.

Church Records. Certificates of birth, baptism (or christening), marriage, death, and funeral notices are often found in church records.

Civil Records. Competent civil recorders prepared birth, marriage, and death certificates usually near the date of the event.

Citizenship Records. Records of immigrant ancestors may include citizenship papers, date of arrival in the United States, port of embarkation and debarkation, and other details.

Fraternal Records. The Masonic Lodge, Elks, Knights of Columbus, etc., have preserved biographical sketches of their membership. If your ancestor joined a fraternal society, you may procure a biographical sketch.

Genealogical Records. Other family members may have compiled genealogical records, such as family group records and pedigree charts. Photocopying these records will save you many hours of research time.

Histories. Specific local histories describe the geography, political atmosphere, economic trends, etc., of ancestral residences.

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Understanding the Basic Research Process

There are five steps to this process:

  1. Write down what you know
  2. Decide what you want to learn
  3. Choose a source of information
  4. Learn from your source
  5. Use what you learn

When you complete the fifth step, you start over again. Systematically you can fill in all the gaps. After you organize and design a system for yourself, you will find that step one is easily accomplished. 

If you examine a pedigree chart, it’s easy to see the missing puzzle pieces and determine what you need to learn. From there you can choose a source of information, review the source, and record new information. Then the process starts over as you identify new holes in your puzzle.


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