Research - Genealogy University



If you have studied and implemented the ideas put forth in the previous pages on this site, you have the basics of research pretty well in hand. After that the more you do and search the better researcher you will become. Two areas of extra information on research are included on this site. They are Native American Research and African American Research. Others will be added in the future.

Genealogically Speaking

Are you searching for your ancestors, do you feel the need to find those long-lost family members? Could be you have been "bitten" by the genealogy bug. It isn't fatal, but it sure can be infectious. Once you are snared by this contagious affliction you better prepare yourself for a long (but joyously fulfilling) therapeutic cure.

Genealogy on the Internet is really an important aid to research. There are so many things available on the "Net" to assist in your search for family. You may even be fortunate enough to find an organized group. But if not, most people will find dozens of sources to aid their searching.

The best things to help in doing personal genealogy when using the Internet are:

1. Know the basics of good genealogical research - there are many helps and tutorials on the Net.
As a beginner, take the time to learn good basic research techniques. Genealogy University has some very good helps and suggestions for beginning genealogists. There are tutorials to help the beginner get started on the road to research. Check out the Tutorials at Genealogy University. As with any project, you must have a good foundation before you move on to other areas. Do not neglect the basics - you will not have much success if you do not develop a good plan of record keeping.

2. Find a good software program for doing your genealogy.
A good software program will make it so much easier than trying to keep track of all of it on paper. Most programs will allow you to print what you need. Many good programs are available - just be sure the program that you choose supports GEDCOM files. You will need this file format to be able to exchange genealogy information with other family members and genealogists. You can do a search on the Internet to find reviews on the many genealogy software programs available. Some of the better ones are - Family Origins 8.0, Family Tree Maker 9.0, Master Genealogist 5.0, Ultimate Family Tree 3.0, Legacy Family Tree 4.0 and Personal Ancestral File 5.2. If you are on a tight budget, let me mention here that Personal Ancestral File is available for download free at Family Search under Order/Download Products. It is not shareware, it is freeware.

3. Use name indexes to search for your ancestors by name.
You can search for your ancestors by name at several good places on the Internet. You will need to be sure of names and it will be a big help to have at least some approximate dates of their life events (birth, death, marriage). The Internet Family Finder is the largest name index on the Net. It is found at the Family TreeMaker site. Other indexes are available also:,, and Gendex. There are many more that you will find as you do more online searching for your ancestors by name.

4. Use place indexes to search for your ancestors by location.
You will need to know the places they lived. The major place indexes are found is USGenWeb. It has a web page for each state in the US and the State pages have listings for each county within the state. These are really valuable resources with more information than you can imagine. The WorldGenWeb of course does as it says and covers much of the world resources available for researching. GENUKI has resources for the United Kingdom and Ireland research.

5. Make use of Lists:  Surname Lists, Mailing Lists, Query Lists.
There are many places that allow you to register the surnames you are researching. Others who are researching check these lists and you never know when you might make a "connection". The largest surname registry is the RootsWeb Surname List.
Mailing lists are a great way to contact and communicate with others that may be researching the same surname, same area or country. By the group using the mailing list for discussion, you will very often find information from one of the members that you did not have before. I belong to several mailing lists and they have been immensely helpful. You will see as you do your researching on the Net that there will be many mailing lists you can join to help your search.
Query Lists are great help also. You can submit queries about ancestors or families and wait to see if someone can answer your questions or help in your search. Most places that accept queries will also let you check queries that others submit. You may find a query that you can answer. It never hurts to help others as you search - you may make a good friend or find a long lost relative. Some good places to put queries are at, Helm's GenealogyToolbox, and USGenWeb.

6. Find a place to list your genealogy web site.
Be sure to list your web pages. It never hurts to get all the exposure that you can for your pages and surnames. Most genealogy society groups offer lots of services.

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