The Villages Genealogical Society
Facts, Tips & Tricks
Tips to help discover and trace your genealogy.
If you have a category or a tip recommendation, please let me know.
 
Filter by Category:
Timeframe:
Return to Category List
Listings Per Page: 

Listings: 1 to 18 of 18
1.  
Genealogy is the search for our ancestors. Family history is the study of the lives they led. Using the information from each area provides us with a true picture of our family.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
2.  
Surnames began in Europe about the 11th century. They developed as trade increased. The four basic groups of surnames are the patronymic (based on the father's name), landscape features or place names, action or nicknames, and occupational or office names.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
3.  
Meaningful genealogy requires thought. Develop a research plan and set goals. Why am I doing genealogy? How far back do I want to go? For example, go back 4 generations, or go back to the immigrant ancestor, or even to just do my father's male line, etc.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
4.  
Start with yourself. Document everything you know about yourself. Include your spouse, children, grandchildren, etc. Include occupations, where you have lived and all important events in your life. Then, and only then, start working backwards and with your living relatives.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
5.  
Remember to document everything you find on your ancestors. Undocumented genealogy is mythology!
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
6.  
Know your relationships: An ancestor is a person from whom you are descended. A descendant is a person who is descended from an ancestor. A relative is someone with whom you share a common ancestor but who is not in your direct line.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
7.  
Remember that each generation doubles the number of ancestors. It's easy to get lost if you don't plan ahead for your trip. Focus on one or two families. The others will still be there when you get to them.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
8.  
Make a list of all living relatives after you complete your personal genealogy. Interview each of them. Be prepared with a list of questions. Use a tape recorder for the answers or take very good notes. Respect the person's privacy, but do not delay; relatives have a nasty habit of dying before being interviewed.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
9.  
When it comes to spelling variations, be creative. Often clerks and government officials were unable to correctly record the names given them by unschooled immigrants not familiar with languages used in their port of entry. The surname was written down as the official heard it and the immigrant accepted that as the official American rendering of his name. Surname spelling was not standardized until well into the 20th century.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
10.  
To find a birth date from a death date, subtract the age in years, months and days from the date of death. This is a very close approximation.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
11.  
There is genealogy beyond the internet! While the internet is one very convenient tool, it is not the only tool. Check out online library catalogs, then visit the library to access the book or request an inter-library loan.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
12.  
The Pedigree Chart is a map from you to your ancestors. Begin with yourself. Females always use their maiden names.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
13.  
The Family Group Sheet identifies a couple and their children. Everyone with a spouse or child has two group sheets; one as a child with parents and usually one as a parent with children.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
14.  
Female lines are as important as male lines. One-half of your ancestors are female! They can be more difficult to locate since most changed their names when married.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
15.  
Always record females using their maiden names.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
16.  
A time line begins with your ancestor's birth and is filled in with various events in his life. Continue to fill this in as information becomes available to provide a picture of your ancestor's life. Several of the genealogy software programs assist you with this.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
17.  
By the time you have collected data on a couple hundred of your relatives, you will realize that genealogy software would make keeping track of relationships within your tree, filing data about individuals, and generating reports much easier. The Society has a special interest group that discusses Family Tree Maker software. Compare features before selecting the software best for you.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016
18.  
Tax records, jury and militia records are indicators of a person's residence.
Last Updated: 22 March 2016