In Part I of this series I discussed how to start your genealogy from the very beginning.
Now, on your Family History. Please don’t let that stop you. There is still plenty for you to do. Collaborating on Family History can be fun. And it often takes different points of view to solve a genealogical dead end. So call that family member and ask them for a GEDCOM saved to Floppy disk or CD-ROM which you will then be able to upload into your Family History Program. Or you might request paper copies of all documents. This will ensure you do not waste time searching for that which has already been found. You can then begin gathering information on any family line within the GEDCOM on which you find work has halted.
Let’s talk about the next step in gathering information from living family members, treasure hunting. I refer to it as such because the things you discover may often prove themselves the only record of information of that kind, making them truly priceless. If you can, plan a visit to the homes of any relations you think may harbor any of the following. Make sure you ask their permission first and if there are any places they do not want you rummaging through.
Items to look for:
* Old letters
* Autograph Albums
* Baby Books
* Wedding Books
* Other scrap books or photo albums
* Family Bibles
* Books of Remembrance
* Printed Histories, family or locality
* Certificates – Birth, Marriage, Death, Divorce, Blessing, Baptism, Award
* Report Cards
* Year Books
* Newspaper clippings
* Military Records
* Records of membership to Genealogical, Historical or other societies
* Drivers or other licenses
* Records of Employment
* Cards – birthday, wedding or other.
You may find things your relative didn’t remember or even know they had. Such was the case when I searched my Grandmother’s home. There were many names and dates she couldn’t recollect, but when I searched her home I found scores of sheets with these names and dates on them. She didn’t even remember that she had written them down.
The things you find may provide vital information for your ancestor as well as information about who they were, what mattered to them, who their friends were and so forth. As I said before, every little detail may prove significant to your search, if not immediately, then certainly down the road.