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Genealogy Resources: Getting Started

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Getting Started

This guide does not include everything you need to know, but hopefully it will help you get started with your family research.

Where to begin?

Start with YOU.

Write down information about yourself including childhood memories, your birth date, and other details. Imagine someone 100 years in the future researching you to include in the family tree. 

Do the same for other family members starting with your parents, then your grandparents, working backward through the generations.

What kinds of information do you need to know?

  • full names
  • birth dates and death dates
  • birth places and places of deaths
  • occupations
  • education
  • marital statuses

Each of these facts should be documented for each person in your tree. Finding the documentation can be challenging. Many records are included in databases such as the National Archives, and you can access them through sites like (or Ancestry Library Edition) and FamilySearch. You will also have to look for some records at home or at your local courthouse, for example.

Need help? Ask a librarian.

Forms & Recordkeeping

There are several software programs and online resources for keeping track of your ancestors. The following are links to free forms and charts you can print for your recordkeeping:

Subject Guide

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Michele Nicole Johnson
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College of Coastal Georgia