What Kind of Information Do You Need to Do a Genealogy Search?


Quick Answer

Perform an initial online genealogy search with a name and any additional known information, such as a birthday or date of death. For more advanced searches, use historical documents and records to locate potential ancestors and verify their relationships.

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Full Answer

The best initial resource for a genealogy search is personal knowledge. Speak with family members, especially from older generations, about their memories and experiences. Gather as much firsthand data as possible; family bibles, scrapbooks and photographs can provide a wealth of detail. Once these resources are exhausted, use an online service that searches vital records databases, newspaper archives and other users' family trees to locate documents and information about ancestors.

Verify relationships and data with official documentation whenever possible throughout the search. Search census records to discover when and where ancestors lived, then search records and newspapers in that location and time period to discover additional information. Keep accurate records of any findings. Make sure to reach out to individuals with shared ancestors to exchange knowledge.

Bear in mind that older or international information might be more difficult to locate. Older records may also include transcription, spelling or factual errors. Search within periods of time rather than for specific dates. Include potential spelling variations when performing searches.

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