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Where To Start
                   
 
Lets get started. Are you excited yet? I hope so because doing your family tree is just plain addicting.
 
First you will need to talk to you mother, father, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. If you have great grandparents , great aunts and uncles then you are already on your way.
 
You will want to find out everything possible that anyone can tell you. First and most important is getting names, find out if aunt Ella was really aunt Elizabeth. Sometimes poeple went by middle names also, so make sure you know about names. The easiest things to start with are dates and places of births, marriage, death and burial.
 
Find out if anyone was in the service or a war, and if so when and where. Those are the building blocks of tracing your tree. Ask family were they lived when they were children, who they visited and where (if at all) did they go to church. Who was at the family Christmas dinners and where did they live.
 
You will probably never get all of the information but any dates and places can actually get you a long way. When I say date it can even be just a year or a month and year. Places can be helpful if, for example, all you know is that a great grandparent died in the year 1953 and was buried in a certain town or even area. This will allow you to look up obituaries and cemeteries.
 
Headstones can tell quite a bit about a person, like date and place of birth, or who their spouse was and some of the older stones even tell you a little about serviving children or those who have passed before them.
 
Keeping good records is essential! If you don't already have a program to input everything you find or already have, I suggest looking into it. They aren't expensive and are well worth it. I picked up my first program on eBay for less than $15.
 
If however you are still working with a pencil and paper, keep it orginized! If you misplace or loose even one page, this information could take forever to find again. This could set you back hours of researching.
 
Once you get the information you need from your immediate family, try asking for copies of the family bible that belonged to grandma. Many times you will find that people kept real good records of births and exact spelling of names in bibles. Pictures are also great. They allow you to see who you are researching.
 
Most important is don't let yourself get stuck for to long. If you get in a rut, start on another name. Come back to it another day. It is pretty easy to overlook the odvious. Taking breaks often allow you to be more productive.  
 
O.K.! Now, lets assume that you are doing your search on paper. Keeping records on paper and not on a computer program yet. You will need a few thing that will make staying orginnized easy. You will need Family Group Sheets, Pedigree Charts,File Folders,Census Charts are helpful if you look up census anywhere in the world and Research Logs can come in handy as well.  
 
Below are a list of charts the are FREE for you to view, download, and print for your own use. Just click on the GET CHARTS button to get any or all of them.  
 
Ancestral Chart  
Research Calender  
Research Extract  
Census Extract (1790 - 1920)  
Correspondence Record  
Family Group Sheet  
Source Summary  
 
GET CHARTS      
 
 
      Getting Started..contunued