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Last Updated 21 Apr 1997

Getting Started on your Family History/Genealogy

I've recieved a lot of email recently from people asking on how to get started on their own genealogy. I wrote this page so that it could hopefully answer some of the reader's questions. I'm just getting started with this page so please bear with me. If you have any suggestions on things I could place on this page send email to

In constructing your family tree there are several basic guidelines you can follow.

  1. Talk to your older relatatives and gather as much information as possible.
    It is important to get specifics such as birth and marriage places. In general, the further back you can go on your own, the easier it will be to find a link to your ancestors. There are a number of different types of documents you can check for information. These include County Civil Records, Church records such as Baptism, Marriage, and Burial records, Genealogical books based on your general area of study, Wills and Testaments etc.

  2. Check out your local LDS Family History Center
    You can check out Tutorial/Intro, FAQ's, Listings and Links.
    Their international and especially Latin American collection is quite extensive. They are located throughout the U.S. For those of you not familiar with these places, in a nutshell they are like branch offices for the largest genealogical data collection in the world. They are sponsored by the Church of Lattter Day Saints (Mormons) in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is where there main collection is housed.

  3. Consider using a computer to organize your Genealogy.
    There are obvious benefits to this, some may not be so obvious. If you don't already own a genealogy program there are several Web Sites dedicated to reviewing and rating Genealogy software. Most software is available on a try before you buy basis. I use and recommend Family Origins for Windows from Parsons Technology, you can download a demo here. One of the best selling genealogy applications is Family Tree Maker, they also have an excellent site; Family Tree Maker's Genealogy Site. For a review of other popular genealogy software titles check the Genealogy Software Springboard. Another thing to consider is the use of GEDCOM files which can be exchanged with other people doing similar research. Most genealogy software programs are capable of creating (exporting) and reading (importing) GEDCOM files. Once you contact other people, perhaps through the internet

  4. Use Internet Resources to help with your search.
    Check out some of the links on this site like the list of Search Engines, where you can search and see if other people are researching your surnames. One of the main ones that comes to mind is the ROOTS Surname Finder and RootsBook Server. Also check with Ancestry Search-Database Search Index, RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative, and FamilyFinder Index from Family Tree Maker. There are also many web sites dedicated to providing you genealogy resources like Genealogy Resources on the Internet, Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites, Everton's Guide to Genealogy and many others for a more complete listing check out the WWW Links page. As for specific geographical areas, there are many listings you check. The AOL Hispanic Genealogy Group has an excellent list for Hispanic researchers, check out Hispanic Genealogy Crossroads. Also worthy of mention is Cyndi's List for Hispanic & Latin America, and don't forget the USGenWeb Project where you'll find a well organized effort to organize genealogy materials on the Internet. They have specific pages for most of the states/counties in the U.S. like the Texas GenWeb Project. Most of the pages on the USGenWeb allow you to post queries The list goes on and on.

  5. Other Internet Resources
    Genealogical HotLinks A great list of Genealogical links from the Utah State Archives
    History HotLinks Also from the Utah State Archives
    HYTELNET - Library Catalogs (Search for Books)
    Worldwide guide to on-line library catalogs.
    You will need a telnet program to access most of these. You can obtain by downloading it for free off of the Internet. For more info on Telnet applications you can check out Stroud's Consummate Internet Apps List, check under Terminal Apps.

  6. Some suggestions for Internet Resources by Geographic Area
    United States: USGenWeb Project covers all of the states and most of the counties in the U.S.
    Mexico and Latin America: Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - Hispanic, Central & South America, and the West Indies
    Spain, Portugal & The Basques: Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - Spain, Portugal & the Basques

More to come..

Last Updated: August 30, 2002

This is a work in progress.

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