Where do you start with a family tree? The very first place you start is with yourself.
Why yourself? This is the person you know the most about. As you go back in time the less you will know. The family tree works on building information from yourself and going back in time. Each level in a tree uncovers the previous level all by itself. Top
Yes, you have to get ready for doing the tree!
1. Paper with lines and blank paper
2. Folders - file folders and pocket folders
3. Hanging folders and place to store (one draw size)
4. Binders - try to collect "used" binders of all sizes.
5. Staff - You and family members "also" doing the tree.
6. A computer - after you have talked with relatives. Top
Will I find anything?
We all start out from there. One can even get stuck right in the begining. When your looking for very common names it can be hard to narrow it down even alittle. As you move along and skip over the spots that are unknown, you start to make progress. As the progress starts to move at a faster pace, you can see a real tree forming. It is best to start with all you can find out from every living relative. It is very helpful to ask all the relatives the same questions to see if they have different memories. Another idea is to ask the same relative the same question at different times to see if they remember it the same. The mismatch information can be very helpful later. Again those scape notes are good to hang on to. Top
One of the nice things about researching this family tree is your spenting time talking with relatives and maybe even visiting them. From these family interviews you can start drawing your tree on paper. You should start sending for documents as soon as you find information that can be confirmed this way. When you feel you have information that might be on the internet, then it is time to do that kind of research. If you don't have a computer at home, you may want to visit your local library to see what resorces they have available. On the computer the Social Security index in a wonderful place to start. When you start to visit site like this, the need to print and collect information starts. You will collect a lot of data before you know what is important and pretaining to your family. This is where the need for files and binders come from. When you first start out, a stack of paper is workable. As you start to have more than one stack and not sure where a piece of information is, some order is needed. The best method is how you see the tree. Do you see it by family, location or surname. Let this drive your filing. I use surnames with some filing by location. Top
You don't need computer software when you first start out. Paper is just fine. I wrote many hand written trees and have a file of old scrap notes. The paper is always available and travels well. When you talk with relatives, you must always have paper ready for notes. These paper notes that become scape notes can be very important later when you go back over them. Beside if one must know the truth; most of what goes in the computer tree is lifted from paper notes and documents. The computer software is good when the file draw of one in very full and the binders are by the dozen. Using paper, files and binders is a small investment to see if you will take this on as a hobby. When the tree picks up pace you will start making list of names to research and document to send for. You now have reached the part of the tree you never though you would find. The part where there aren’t enough hours in a day to catch up. You need a staff! The files and binders need part of a room . Top
There is no exact way to know. You really need to know about your relatives first in order to find a match. The more you know already, the easier to match to something out on the internet.
Is the Family Tree Finished?
Good guestion! Some of that will depend on how many countries your tree is in and how deep you are digging. How far from "you" are going to go. Great Grandparents sibling and their families is far reaching tree but a detailed one. We all have 16 Great Grandparents plus their siblings and families.
You may send for documents throught the mail. Every state has a "Vital Records" department that handles birth and death records. Every State has Federal Census taken every 10 years and a possible state census taken every 5 years. The miliary records are from the Federal level. Top
As you collect the documented details of a person’s life, a story unfolds. The benefit of having documents is the little pieces of information that is on the printed document that you may not have known or thought to be different. When you start with yourself, you most certainly know about yourself, so this will be your first verifying of detail. Think of this as practice for your journey through time. From yourself, you will proceed to your parents. You may know where they were born but do you know the actual address they were born ? These are the question that will prepare you for the journey. Top
Regardless of where you are on the path in the journey throught time, each person has a life with events. I have created a chart with these events which you could check off. I put it on a sperate page so you may print this form.
I believe if you have collected all the information available then you have their whole life story. As you follow the facts, you can actually get a sense
of this life,a possible biography. Top
Many facts can be uncovered. I always knew my Dad was in the Navy and Uncle Frankie and Grandpa was in the Army. When I read my Uncle's and Grandpa's discharge papers , I found that they entered the wars through Camp Upton right near my home. I was really taken back. Type "Camp Upton" at Longwood Journey.
As you move around your tree, some of the information will come very easy.
you move further away from your starting point of "you", the tree starts to develop on hutches, possiblies and family stories. At this point you would like to comfirm and prove the stories into facts documented in any form. When you seem to have tried all your resources and still can't come up with the documents to confirm what you are looking for, this is a brick wall. An example would be a the very existence of a surposed relative. I have a "Jeremiah" in my tree that is in a NJ Cemetery with family. So far I can't find anything about him. I may find information as I follow other family members. Many times it helps to skip over these walls until you really need the information to continue. Top
A surname is the last name of a person. A maiden name is for females before
they are married. The turn "nee" means "mothers maiden name". A female married
is could be Jane Smith. Her maiden name wasWalsh and her mothers maiden name
was Franklin. Her name is Jane Walsh Smith nee Franklin. Here are just some
of the surnames in Harold and Joan's tree.
Wagner, Bitetto, Harvey, Egan, O'Connell, Corry, Napitano, Lange, Doelger, Top
Having family around the world is an interesting concept to get use to. Part of the story unraveling will also take you to places that you may not realized. I always knew that I was Irish and Itialian. I now know almost exactly where in Ireland and Italy. To be really factual, the family is in Ireland, Itlay, Canada, Germany, England and many states in United States so far. One must always read about the area to possibly unfold some historical facts. This will let you understand why people were located where they were and why they moved. The reading of history will fill in the details for the narrative to the story. This reading of history from a family tree angle is like no other because you suddenely realize "your" relativies made that very history. Top
The family came from many countries to America. There are three different time periods to consider and several arrival locations. There is the before Ellis Island, arrival during Ellis Island and after Ellis Island. The arrival mostly likely was New York but can also be Canada and Massasetts for port of entry.
Here are is a site that has Passenger Lists:
Cyndi's List of Ship's and Passenger's List. This is just one of many pages on this site.
All pages on Cyndi's List are updated frequently and give you much informtation at a single page.
Great Resource Website
are full of information. You can find sites you didn't know existed. The
sites are update very often. The wealth and varity of infromation in huge.
http://www.ancestry.com PAY to join.
The purpose of this site started as a assignment for Library Class LIS566 at CW Post College in the Summer 2002. We were allowed to pick a subject that would interest us. I felt creating a web site on genealogy would evenually lead to my tree appearing on the web someday. I very much wanted to share my basic knowledge so others may take this journey. I hope to maintain this site and add more. The very first stages is of my own thoughts from expeicence in putting together my family tree. I could never have been able to put together a tree so vast without the enorouse help from the "whole" family. At this point the "whole" family is a very large forest spanning around the world.