September 16, 2014
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Further Reading

Step By Step Genealogy

Begin with yourself and work backwards.  Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, anyone who is older than you.Find out what they can tell you about your family.You want to gather as much of the following information as possible:

  • Names of your ancestors with women's maiden names
  • Exact or approximate dates and places of their births, deaths, and marriages
  • Names of your ancestors' brothers and sisters

General information about your ancestors, such as their occupations, if they had any military service, where they were buried, and if they were foreign-born, when they came to this country

Fill in family groups sheets and a pedigree chart with the information you have gathered.  These forms are available from the Genealogy Division of the library, or they can be downloaded from sites on the Internet such as Cyndi's List or Ancestry.com.  Use pencil when working with these forms.  You will do a lot of erasing before you are through.Always use the three or four letter abbreviation when writing months, don't use numbers, and use the full four digits for the years.  Also, be sure to use the women's maiden names.

Learn about the research process by reading a beginning book on genealogy or by taking a class.  The library has several books on how to do genealogy and also offers classes periodically.  If you have a friend who is researching his family, talk to him.  The more you learn in the beginning, the less time you will spend retracing your steps later on.

Find your ancestors in the federal census.  You can do this at any of the library's branches by using our subscriptions to Ancestry.com or Heritage Quest.With your library card, you can even use Heritage Quest from home.  Most events are recorded in the places where they occurred.  By locating your ancestors every ten years in the census, you then know where to look for other records about them such as births, deaths, and marriages.

Come into the library at any time for advice on how to proceed.  The department is open and staffed during regular library hours.  Our collection includes materials for all of Ohio as well as the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.We also have information on researching anywhere in the U.S. and most of Europe.  We may not have the original records you need, but we should be able to direct you to them.

HAVE FUN!  Genealogy is a great hobby.  There is nothing like holding your great, great grandfather's will in your hand, or seeing your ancestor's name on a ship's passenger list, or visiting a long forgotten relative's grave.  If there is anything we can do to help you experience these thrills, just let us know.  See you at the library!