How Do You Find Your Ancestors?


Quick Answer

Find your ancestors by speaking to relatives and asking for specific information, such as birth dates, marriages, places they lived, military service and their occupations, as well as their parents, siblings and other family members. Ask about old photos, scrapbooks, diaries, papers or other information that may be helpful.

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Full Answer

Organize your material, and enter it on a family group sheet. You may find this online or through genealogy services. Each family group has a separate sheet. Write surnames all in capital letters, then write the date with the day first, followed by the month spelled out, and finally the year. When writing locations, place the town first, followed by the county, state and country.

After documenting your information, search census records for additional information. Many libraries have genealogy sections, or you can search records online by entering the census year, county and state.

The National Archives is a source for all types of military records, including pension applications, service records and muster rolls. Bounty land warrants, awarded after early military service, are also good sources of information.

Common errors made by people searching their family history include failure to contact family members, not using group sheets and not using maps relevant to the time period being researched.

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