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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How to Identify What You Know and What You Don't Know

Visit Getting Started With Your Family History to download a Family Tree Chart.

You will be able to easily identify so many more resources to help you document your ancestors using a Family Tree Chart.  Don't worry about the missing information, just fill out what you do know about your ancestor.

Be sure to include every level of government when entering place information.  Sometimes people are missing the name of the county or parish.  Records were generated at the city, county/parish, state and federal levels of government.

Here are some examples of record types and which level of government they represent:

City:  city hall records, city ordinances, city directories

County:  birth, marriage, deaths

State:  census, vital records, militia, voting

Federal:  census, military, tax

If you need to know the county or parish, Roots Web is a great place to start: U.S. Town/County Database.

Your next step would be to identify the records generated at each level of government for each place during the lifetime of your ancestor.

See Guide to Federal Records at the National Archives.


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