Monday, October 3, 2011

FREE Genealogy Course

Lesson #3
Where to Find Information

Are you the last one left of your family? 

Hopefully not!  

 But do ask your oldest ancestors soon to tell you the stories and myths surrounding your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Get all of the names, dates and areas where your ancestors lived.  These memories will provide invaluable clues as you search for histories of those who have gone before.  My husband’s great grandfather accidentally killed his best friend in a bar fight in Nelsonville, Ohio.  He fled to West Virginia and thought he was hiding out but the sheriff from Nelsonville tracked him down, brought him home to Nelsonville and put him in jail.  We learned about this escapade by reading an article in the Nelsonville newspaper because the family was embarrassed and did not share this story with the rising generation.  The best part of the story is that the only witness to the killing was a young girl who went to visit great grandpa in the jail and then married him so she would not have to testify against him.  A GREAT story, right?  It might never have been documented if we had relied on what grandma was willing to tell us. Always check a lot of sources.

Finding census records is a major help in documenting relationships.  Census records since 1860 list the members of the household and you can tell by the ages how the relationships work.  Census records from 1880 and later tell the relationships.  Now that you have some names, dates and areas where your ancestors lived here are some sites where you can locate census records for your ancestors.  Google US census records for more sites.  Google is great for all things genealogy.

Email me at and I will send you a census abstract form to help you organize the information contained on a census record.  This form was created by Linda Kralman-Lambert, ILGenWeb Coordinator for Effingham County, Illinois © 2005

Don’t forget to write your own history for the generations to come.  Your stories will keep your memory alive to them.

"This packrat has learned that what the next generation will value most is not what we owned, but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we loved. In the end, it's the family stories that are worth the storage."
-Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe

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