For the upcoming new year, you might of thought of doing a full out effort to work on your family history. That is a great idea!! You might have started or had handed to you what someone earlier in the family had done, but now is your chance to achieve a good working and expanded knowledge of your ancestors.
The key is to make sure you have four of the key or basic vital records on nearly every ancestor.
First, is some record of a person’s birth; where and when. Now official state birth records are excellent, but not always available. There can also be the family Bible written record. Birth information can also be on social security applications, which you can order from the Federal government. If the person was in the military, the birth information will also be there.
Next would be when and if a person married, to whom, especially if it was many times. Again, official state records have marriage records, but not for all year, especially early ones. Marriages can be found again in family Bible records, newspaper articles are very useful, also a person’s obituary, church records or death certificate.
The third important basic record is the death certificate or record. The state where the person died would have a certificate, family Bible Records, newspaper obituaries, and church records have the death information.
The fourth most important and sometimes it takes the longest are researching all the US Federal and State Census records that cover the life-span of an ancestor. Start with the most recent which would be 1940 Federal Census. The 1950 Census will be released in April 2022. Then work back over the ten years to each decade. Do find out if where the ancestor lived, was a state census done, most were in between the Federal censuses. For example, in Florida, there was a 1945 census (between 1940 and 1950). Federal censuses started in 1790 but the best with the most information were 1850 to 1940. With the censuses, not only do you learn about a specific ancestor, but also anyone living in the household at the time (siblings, children, spouse, parents, cousins, and other extended family members). Keep in mind, the Federal or state censuses never got every single person, it was not 100% complete. But rather, about 90% of the population was included in the census.
To help search all four of these basic vital records, check if you have a Family History Center in your county or nearby. Excellent resource for sure that you can go to and help assistance. You can also go online and use the FamilySearch.org site, another great resource (related to the Family History Center).
Have all four of these main records for your direct lineage (parents, grandparents, etc) and for branches of the tree such as aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Photos: Family Bible records for births and deaths; marriage certificate for George and Izbicki Victoria in 1935; and a 1915 State census for New Jersey.
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