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1.  
Genealogy is family history based on sources...first begin your search for sources with what you know or can find out from your family and your home. All families leave a trail of information and paper (even though sometimes it is very slim) and the best place to begin the journey of discovery that is genealogy is with your living family and your home.
[Located in Category: Beginning Genealogy Research]
2.  
Interview family members...write down or record what they tell you and then be sure to add that day's date to the information. Knowing the date they talked to you can be important later in the research process.
[Located in Category: Beginning Genealogy Research]
3.  
Search your home for old photographs, scrapbooks or any items (such as letters or documents) that you have inherited, or own, that might contain family history. Organize and store them in a safe place in your home.
[Located in Category: Beginning Genealogy Research]
4.  
RECORD all that information in standard genealogical charts and forms, or use a computer software program that is designed for creating a family history database. The charts and forms--whether paper or on a computer--are the base on which all other information is built.
[Located in Category: Beginning Genealogy Research]
5.  
Basic Genealogical Data: 1. Each person's full name...that means their given (first) name, their middle name, their surname. Women are always listed only by their maiden name; 2. The dates and locations of each person's birth, marriage, death and burial; 3. Use the military style of recording dates, i.e. 3 June 1873 (first date, then month spelled out, followed by the full number of the year); 4. To record locations list the town, county or province, then state, and country in that order; 5. State the source (proof) of each item you record.
[Located in Category: Beginning Genealogy Research]
6.  
Remember: a genealogical 'fact' is not a fact until it is proven.
[Located in Category: Beginning Genealogy Research]
7.  
Use all birth, marriage and death information found in home and family sources as the base on which to begin U.S. Federal Population Schedule Census research. The U.S. Federal Census was taken every tenth year from 1790-1940.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
8.  
Always remember to start census research with what you know and work backwords to what you do not know. Start with someone in 1940 and follow their family back in time...known back to the unknown. Get all censuses in which the people you are researching appeared.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
9.  
The 1890 U.S. Federal Population Schedule Census was destroyed by fire, except for a few counties in a few states. All 1890 censuses that exist are available on Ancestry.com, and also on microfilm from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
10.  
The 1790 - 1840 censuses only list heads-of-household by name. All other members of the household are numbered by age and gender categories.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
11.  
The 1850-1880 censuses list whether a couple's marriage occurred in the previous year. Along with listing property value (land), occupations, they also tell the name, age and sex of every person in the household, which is a great help in genealogy research.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
12.  
Only the 1900 census lists month and year of each person's birth, in addition to all the other information asked in that year.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
13.  
Don't forget to study all the people named on census pages with your ancestors, because relatives often lived close at hand.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
14.  
U.S. Federal Population Schedule Census are often described as full of errors and mistaken information. However, by locating family in multiple census years and comparing all the name variations, age variations and location information, a much more accurate and clear image of the complete family group emerges. Be prepared for surprises.
[Located in Category: Census, United States]
15.  
These are the largest and most varied single type of records useful for genealogy. Local government records in the United States are located in the county courthouse, but there are local government records in all countries. The search for these records is the reason we struggle to learn where our ancestors lived.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
16.  
Courthouses have different record storage systems in different states, but they all have the same types of records: 1) Vital Records (births, marriages and deaths); 2) Court records (probate, criminal and civil) from circuit and county courts; 3) Land records (deeds, old mortgage and tax records). Keep in mind that there are at least three separate offices in every courthouse and unique records in each of them.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
17.  
The fastest way to access the records is to GO to the courthouse in your target county and get copies of them. Take a digital camera, a small scanner or money to pay for copies; do not wear your best outfit because old records can be covered in coal dust.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
18.  
Write or call the courthouse in your target county and request copies of the records. There are books available in libraries with county courthouse information; or check online for the county courthouse of interest in your research. Some courthouse offices allow phone or fax requests but fees are higher as credit cards are required. Be sure to ask the per-page copy fee for court and land records as they can be very lengthy documents or oversize prints.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
19.  
Get published copies, transcriptions or abstracts of courthouse records in books at your local library. Drawback: No courthouse has all records transcribed, abstracted or published.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
20.  
If your local library does not have the book you need, have your librarian obtain it through interlibrary loan.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
21.  
Check for microfilmed copies of courthouse records at local libraries. Look up your target county on the Catalog listings of the Family History Library website at . Then order the films online to be sent to the Family History Center or Affliliate library of your choice. No county has all their records microfilmed.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
22.  
Remember transcriptions, abstracts and even microfilms of original paper documents may be only partial or abbreviated. Always check the originals when possible.
[Located in Category: Local Government Records]
23.  
Church records are usually in the possession of the church or in the church archives. Write or call and ask for information. Also, check for published book or microfilm copies at the local library.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
24.  
Cemetery records such as gravestone incriptions and cemetery office records are often available as published records in local libraries and archives. Many cemeteries still have offices or associations responsible for their records and local contact information may be in the phone book or online directories.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
25.  
Funeral home records from the past are sometimes available at current funeral homes, always check with them about what years their records cover.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
26.  
City and County Directories tell addresses, occupations or employers and sometimes will describe women by marital status, i.e. "widow of ___". It is fascinating to assemble the year-by-year history of a family or a house address.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
27.  
Published county histories are frequently available at local libraries and archives. If not, check the state libraries and archives for them as their mix of biographical and local historical information make them an excellent source.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
28.  
Newspapers, both on paper and microfilm, are an important genealogy research tool. There is one repository in each state responsible by federal law to collect and microfilm their state historical newspapers. Some local libraries have paper or microfilm copies so be sure and ask, as newspapers carry local news, obituaries, legal and tax notices, birth and marriage announcements, all of which are valuable in genealogy.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
29.  
Special collections and databases: PERSI (Periodical Source Index), NUCMUC (National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections), and here in Champaign County are our Local History Online index databases called Champaign County Historical and Genealogical Index; Urbana Municipal Documents Index.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
30.  
Published family histories and genealogies in local or state libraries.
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
31.  
Maps, Atlases, Gazetteers and Tract Books (some governmental, some are not).
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
32.  
Maps, Atlases, Gazeteers and Tract Books (some governmental, some are not).
[Located in Category: Local Non-Government Records]
33.  
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C.--and its Regional Branches--is the principal repository for records relating to the U.S. federal government. These include the original paper copies of the federal census, all pre-World War I military records, Native American records, military service and pension records, naturalization records, ship passenger lists, land-entry case files, homestead and bounty land warrant records. Their website is the place to begin research for federal records.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]
34.  
Social Security Administration has made the Social Security Death Index freely available on multiple websites. When first entered the records began with 1962 deaths, but now there are some listed earlier than 1962.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]
35.  
General Land Office is now called Bureau of Land Management of the United States Department of Interior. Some federal land records are here, some in the National Archives and some are in state and university libraries. Public domain land states are largely available on the BLM,GLO-ES (Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office-Eastern States) free website.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]
36.  
National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO., has U.S. military records for World War I or later. World War I draft registration cards are online, along with some of the World War II enlistment records. Some of the records in St. Louis were destroyed by fire, and they ask that you send the request for records back a second time since the first reply is computer-generated.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]
37.  
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. has manuscripts, publications and microfilms of a wide range of materials useful to genealogical research. Their website is free and easy to use.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]
38.  
State Vital Records (births, marriages and deaths) are the most commonly requested state records by genealogists. Illinois State Archives has multiple indexes for state records available at their facility and Illinois State Death Certificate Index is just one of them. Missouri has both an index and digitized images of the death certificates on their Missouri State Archives website. Some states have put their vital record indexes on paid subscrip-tion websites, while the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has put several states' indexes and digital certificates available for free on their website. Always check for online or published indexes since some states charge for multiple searches if you do not know the exact event date.
[Located in Category: State Records]
39.  
State, territorial and colonial census records are done by the order of the state, territorial or colonial officials. They are a source of information for those early settlement years and they are usually done in years between the federal censuses. Some, such as the Oklahoma Territory 1890 census, are available on Ancestry.com.
[Located in Category: State Records]
40.  
State land records are often published in books or on microfilm. Check the state archives and state library of the target state, and then check the state records listed in the Catalog of the Family History Library website at familysearch.org.
[Located in Category: State Records]
41.  
State Military records--state militia; state military pension records; Confederate military and pension records are always state, not federal, records--are normally available at the targeted State Archives.
[Located in Category: State Records]
42.  
Native American records at the state level are primarily located in Oklahoma City, OK., at the Oklahoma State Historical Society Library. Many of them are also available on microfilm in the Catalog on the LDS website at familysearch.org.
[Located in Category: State Records]
43.  
State law enforcement and prison records can contain photos and personal information that cannot be obtained any other way. They are not available publically so you will have to start by questioning staff at the state archives or the state agency in charge.
[Located in Category: State Records]
44.  
Collections of private family and business papers which have been donated to State or University Libraries or Archives; inquire for an index to their manuscript holdings.
[Located in Category: State Records]
45.  
Check for family files in state genealogy libraries, state historical society libraries and state archives.
[Located in Category: State Records]
46.  
USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) was formerly known as INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). Searching for Immigration and naturalization records is essential in genealogy research. The website which allows patrons to order index searches or record copies is at: www.uscis.gov/genealogy. Payment is required for searching the indexes, and then payment again to obtain copies of records located. 20th century records include: Certificate Files (C-Files); Registry Files; Visa Files; Alien Registration and A-Files.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]
47.  
The essential elements of the online genealogical search are the same as any other research that we do: FIRST you work from the KNOWN to the UNKNOWN. Avoid the first stumbling block of starting research with the earliest possible ancestor. Start with yourself and work backward, locating records for each generation whenever possible. When you hit a brick wall, go back to the people and locations you know and look for clues you may have overlooked. Remember that exact spelling was never an expectation until the advent of computers--phonetic spelling was common and level of education varied widely. Accept that genealogy research involves collecting variant spellings of names and locations.
[Located in Category: Online Research]
48.  
SECOND: Plan your search and create goals you hope to achieve. Using your list of things you know about people and locations where they lived, along with approximate dates of events, go to free websites (such as Family Search) and begin your search for specific names and places. Check your local library and Family History Center for subscription databases, such as Ancestry Library Edition, that they might have available for patron use.
[Located in Category: Online Research]
49.  
THIRD: Record Basic Genealogical Data That You Find. Genealogist's call it 'citing your sources' which means to record where you find information that you are putting in your family history. Keep track of which website you are using, check that website for the source of the material they are presenting and evaluate for its reliability. Truth is not a requirement for putting something online--judging the quality of the work is our job.
[Located in Category: Online Research]