Tracing Your Family History

  1. Start with yourself! Write down your own name, birth date, place of birth, parents, husband or wife if married, date of marriage, place of marriage, children’s complete names and their dates of birth. The easiest way to do this in a format that will be easily understood is to use a Family Group Sheet. After you do your own family, do your parents, grandparents and so on.  Get as much information as you can from living relatives, bibles, military records, etc.  Complete a pedigree chart.  
  2. Once you have collected all the information that exists in your home and family, you are ready to go on to research in libraries, archives, and courthouses.  You may want to start with government sources such as census data.  Check places like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Family History Centers (their online site is Family Search-Free Site). Note all military service. 
  3. It is essential to record the source of all the notes that you take. You may find it necessary to go back and check them against the original source to verify their accuracy, and in order to do that, you must know where you found them.  Keep copies to support the application for membership.  Each link to the next generation, including date of birth, date of death, and parents name, must be supported by documentation.
  4. Get outside help.  Consider joining other groups who are interested in genealogical research like the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the National Genealogical Society.  Also, consider joining local groups like the Black Belt African American Genealogical & Historical Society, Inc in Alabama and local chapters of AAHGS.

Click here for genealogical resources to help get you started.