Many of you write often and say "I am new at this, where do I start" or "I am new at this, where do I go next"

I will try to write down all the helpfull hints here I have used or found useful in years of research. If anyone has any suggestions or hints to add for the newcomers to Genealogy, please do not be shy send me e-mail with your Hints or Suggestions and I will add them to this page

NUMBER ONE, What is Genealogy ??

Genealogy is the study and research done to find your ancestors Genealogy is an addictive hobby or pastime for most of us Genealogy mixed with a bit of family history can reveal much about one and one's past habits, genes, traditions etc..

NUMBER TWO, What kind of tree do you want ??

Depending how "picky" or determined or lucky you can be or get And this may change as you get into it and decide you want more or less than you had first planned.

I had a priest once who has done many family trees for people say "researching all members of a family is something that will kill you, the Simple Tree is the best way to go" So it is really UP TO YOU, as to what kind of Tree you want or end up with

Genealogy research will give you either a Simple Family Tree, a detailed Family Tree, an Ancestry Chart or you may have a sloppy Family Tree and quit but I doubt it, remember its addicting

1. A simple Family Tree will be when you search for ancestors by father only; father, his father, his father etc.. with their wives..and brothers and sisters maybe

2. A detailed Family Tree will be when you search fathers, mothers, uncles aunts and their children

3. An Ancestry Chart is Just that, Ancestors on both the mother and father's side, your mother her parents, their parents , their parents, and same on the father's side.

NUMBER THREE, Where do you start ??

I would say here what I always say, "Start at home" !!!

What I mean by that, start with your parents, your grand parents, uncles, aunts, great uncles, or aunts. Gheeee you may even find out it has already been done :) if not well..... Ask questions, make sure you get all you can from them, pictures, bibles notes, stories, dates, pick their brains and do it NOW !! do not wait until grand ma passes away then kick yourself, it wont help

NUMBER THREE, What next ??

My second piece of advice would be do not ASSUME !!!

Assuming will get you off on the wrong track and you will get lost and if at some point you feel you HAVE to, do it very carefully noting it was an assumption. Record it all, all the information you have gathered, write it down use a tape recorder, a video camera, but keep it all, you may need it later even if its only what seems like an insignificant fact to you at the time or even if it's a negative answer, a NO may show you were the YES is at later Do not only stop at asking who were your grand parents or who were your great grand parents, ask if they had brothers or sisters which are known beleive it or not, when going through church registers, priests, parsons, etc.. did not think about us doing Genealogy back then The noive of 'em right ?? :)

Yes many church registers do not have parents of bride and groom entered in marriage records. So many times the only way to get one more generation back is to know some brothers or sisters of the ancestors, the marriage record of one of them may have the parents listed

Ask about dates, ask if they remember anything about where their parents or grand parents came from, where they went to, where they worked, what they did etc.....

NUMBER FOUR, write down your sources !!

Write down where you took all information, bits of history, stories the name of the person, book name and page, microfilm numbers, everything and anything that you get, note where you got it So if you need to go back to it or if for some reason someone else needs to finish what you started they will not have to do the same work over again or even for yourself, if you need to go back to some sources, you will know exactly where to go or where NOT to go.

NUMBER FIVE, always marry your people !!

Some people do genealogy and I often hear "I'm looking for Jean son of Joseph" or "I can't seem to find Paul son of Patrick", once you start doing genealogy you will realize, I hope, there are maybe 4 or 5 Joseph or Patrick or Paul in any one family at times. Or uncle Paul or Patrick are a dime a dozen Always note your Joseph as husband of Mary or Josephine and put a date or at least an approximate date (noted apprx.) so you know at all times which Joseph or Paul or Patrick you area talking about or working with

NUMBER SIX , Work backwards !!

No, don't turn your chair with its back to the desk :).. But start with you, your parents, their parents, their parents Starting with the first ancestor of the Leblanc or Brown family to arrive to Canada for example and trying to work your way down to your father is not the best way to go

NUMBER SEVEN, How do you save all that information ??

Well some people save it in a scrapbook, make notes, buy a binder to place it in Others have a computer to enter the data in and sort it all out. Whichever way works for you. At first you will find a notepad works fine but as you get more and more information, names, dates, you will find out you need something more to keep it in. If you decide to go to a computer and a "Family Tree" program there is not ONE best or better program but again whichever works for you From experience, just make sure it does what you want before inputting ALL your data. Check out that it imports and exports GEDCOM files (which are a way to compress the data in the program and place it in a format which can be exported to a file called GED file then you can Import your family data into an other Family tree program without having to enter it all over again...

NUMBER EIGHT, Where do you go to find the information you need now??

Depending how far you got with your search at home, the next step is usually

Church registers, Provincial Archives, Libraries, Joining or visiting a Genealogical Society near you, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have probably what is the largest data bank in genealogy, try to find a branch near you, they are in the phone book.

This page was designed by Irene Doyle for Gloucester and Restigouche GenWeb
April 1998