Organization is so important when doing your family history. Remember you are recording and looking up about two major family branches -- your mother’s and your father’s side. Each of those branches had two more branches, your grandparents, so now you have four major branches. If you don’t use some helpful forms and organizational sheets it can become overwhelming.
First of all, if you don’t have it done, do fill-in a generation chart (pedigree chart). This form starts with yourself, then goes to parents, grandparents to great grandparents and then great-great grandparents (five generations). True, you might only be able to put just a name; perhaps only a given name, but do put what is known. Fill in birth-marriage and death years and locations.
Since the U. S. Federal census records are so important, you do need an individual census worksheet on each ancestor. Here the person’s name, birth, marriage and death dates and locations are written. Whom they married is also added. Then for each pertinent census record that is located on that ancestor you need to place the state-county and city names, the enumeration district number and if there is any home address provided. Do make special note of any differences in name spelling and / or age from census to census. This will really help organize the information from each census.
If you want to, a family group sheet can also be completed. Here each individual nuclear family is done, with the parents and their children. You may feel you are repeating information, instead look at it as organizing the information.
Document what and where you find any information, dates, names, etc. Using the Research Record will show each ancestor with what is located and where. This way if you are still missing a marriage date, you see that right away.
After reviewing and seeing numerous dates in your research, it can be very helpful to refer to a perpetual calendar. This is especially great when figuring what day of the week an event, such as a wedding occurred. This document has the non-leap years of 1753-1999 and then the leap years running every four years between 1756 and 2000. Checking my parents’ wedding of April 27, 1949, it was on a Wednesday -- who would have guessed?
Each of these forms are available free from the St. Louis Genealogical Society. Just click on the site to call each up and print yourself as many copies as needed.