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 pedigree chart. On Cyndi’s List there is a full selection of different types of pedigree charts from numerous sources. Scrolling down you will see the printable family charts by Vertex42 which are easy to print out from its PDF format.
This form (pedigree) 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 the individual decade census sheets written up on each ancestor. Again the Cyndi’s List site has those years for the census, including the English census years. 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. The site on Cyndi’s List under ‘Easy Genealogy Forms‘ can be helpful here. 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 or Log 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. On FamilySearch.org, they have a great explanation of how to a research record or log, plus a selection of charts for the record to chose.
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. The perpetual calendar by ‘InfoPlease‘ can take you to any year. It 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?
Related FamilyTree.com genealogical blogs:
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