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Getting Started With Genealogy


Getting Started With Genealogy An Introduction to Genealogical Research West Warwick Public Library 2003 Presentation Outline What is Genealogy Where to Begin Charts ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Getting Started With Genealogy

Getting Started With Genealogy
  • An Introduction to Genealogical Research

West Warwick Public Library
Presentation Outline
  • What is Genealogy
  • Where to Begin
  • Charts and Forms
  • Types of Records
  • Where to Search
  • Creating the Family Tree
  • Book and Web Resources

West Warwick Public Library
What is Genealogy?
  • An Account of ones descent from an ancestor
    or ancestors, by enumeration of the intermediate
    persons. OED
  • or
  • A mixture of living history, written records,
    and family lore. The Genealogy Handbook

West Warwick Public Library
Where to Begin
  • The best place to embark on your genealogical
    quest is right in your own home. Start with
    yourself and work backward, one generation at a
    time. Begin to collect any documents pertaining
    to you and your family such as birth
    certificates, marriage certificates, report
    cards, etc.

West Warwick Public Library
  • Once youve selected the branch of the family
    you would like to begin with, interview as many
    family members as possible and write or record
    these oral histories. Make note of even the
    smallest details, it may come in handy later on
    in your search.

West Warwick Public Library
Some Ideas for Questions
  • Names and residences
  • Pictures
  • Schooling and profession
  • Migration information
  • Religion, culture, hobbies
  • Heirlooms and special items
  • Skeletons in the closet

West Warwick Public Library
Charts and Forms
  • Now that you have started gathering information
    on your family, there are various charts and
    forms that can help you organize the information
    you discover.
  • Family Group Record
  • Ancestral or Pedigree Chart
  • Vital Records Form
  • Census Extraction Form
  • Soundex Card
  • Research Calendar

West Warwick Public Library
Family Group Record
  • This genealogical form depicts a couple and
    their biological or adopted offspring. This is
    useful to organize your family by family units.
  • This form includes such information as
  • Religion
  • Church
  • Occupation
  • Cause of Death
  • Place of christening
  • Family Group Record

West Warwick Public Library
Ancestral or Pedigree Chart
  • This chart usually displays 5 to 6 generations
    and is useful as an overview of your family.
    (fathers are recorded beside even numbers,
    mothers are recorded beside odd numbers.) This
    form includes the following fields of
  • Date of birth B
  • Place of birth P
  • Date of marriage M
  • Place of marriage P
  • Date of death D
  • Place of death P
  • Ancestral Chart

West Warwick Public Library
Vital Records Form
  • This form allows you to keep track of marriage,
    birth and death certificates. It is organized by
    town , region, or country so that you know where
    the original records are kept.
  • The following fields are included
  • Year
  • Type
  • Certificate
  • Copied

West Warwick Public Library
Census Extraction Form
  • The Census, a mandate of the constitution, was
    signed as a law by George Washington in 1790.
  • These forms help keep track of the census
    information from 1790 to 1930.
  • It is a clear form that is set up according to
    the column headings specific to each year.
  • Census Forms 1790-1930

West Warwick Public Library
Soundex Card
  • With the idea of putting many people to work in
    government, President Franklin Roosevelt used
    some of the WPA workers to organize the Soundex.
  • There are a few censuses that were indexed using
    a code called Soundex, rather than the original
    name. The 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 used this
    form of indexing. The soundex code consists of
    the initial letter of your last name and 3 coded
    numbers replace the following letters. Although
    you can do this by hand, there is a convenient
    converter located on the web.
  • Soundex Converter

West Warwick Public Library
Research Calendar
  • It is extremely important to keep track of where
    and what you have searched. A written record of
    all sources searched, including both positive and
    negative results will save hours of time and
    energy later on in your search.
  • Research Calendar

West Warwick Public Library
Types of Records
  • There are many records and documents to search on
    your genealogical quest. Probably the three most
    important types of records are
  • Census Records
  • Judiciary Records
  • Vital Records

West Warwick Public Library
Census Records
  • Federal Census records provide a wealth of
    information dating back to the first census in
    1790, although many of the 1790 records were
    destroyed by the British during the War of 1812.
    The Federal Census is conducted every ten years
    and is public information after 72 years. The
    1930s census has just been released. The
    information provided on each census varies from
    such information as occupation to number of
    insane in a household. They often times identify
    citizenship or immigration information.
    Beginning in 1880, the Censuses began to include
    place of birth of both Mother and Father. The
    1890 Census is significant for it provides
    Veteran information.

West Warwick Public Library
Census Records-State
  • The state of Rhode Island conducted a census
    every ten years on the fifth year beginning in
    1865. A street address is often times necessary
    to review the state censuses. 1905 is a great
    year to research in Rhode Island because it
    begins to list the entry country and by that
    point 1/3 of the population was foreign born.
    The 1865 State Census provides Civil War
    information, while the 1875 Census begins to
    document citizenship.

West Warwick Public Library
Judiciary Records
  • Judiciary records provide genealogists with
    divorce, criminal, and naturalization
    information. For Rhode Island, they are housed
    at the Rhode Island Supreme Court Judicial
    Records Center. You can email a request or use
    the facilities to locate the following
  • Civil Cases between 1671-1900
  • Criminal Cases between 1671-1900
  • Divorce Cases between 1749-1900
  • Naturalization Papers between 1793-1974
  • Social Security was signed into law by FDR in
    August 1935, before this point there was not much
    incentive for becoming naturalized citizens,
    also, before 1920, women would not be
  • RI Judicial Records Center
  • (Andrew Smith)

West Warwick Public Library
Vital Records
  • Birth, Marriage, and Death records serve as a
    stepping stone to most genealogical research. An
    accurate date is sometimes crucial to identifying
    an ancestor. Most state archives or historical
    societies house these records. For Rhode Island
    records, the state archives contain vital records
    after 1853 until 1953 for death records and 1903
    for birth and marriage records. Local town halls
    will carry these as well as previous vital
    records. To obtain records after these dates,
    one can contact the Rhode Island Department of
    Health. A good source for very early records is
    the Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636-1850. It
    is a twenty-one volume set listed by county.
  • Vital Records

West Warwick Public Library
Where to Search
  • There are many places to search ancestral
    records. Since each location will vary in their
    collections, many avenues may have to be explored
    for a complete genealogical search. The following
    is a list of places where you can search.
  • Family History Centers
  • National, State, and Local Offices
  • Historical and Genealogical Societies
  • Public Libraries
  • Internet

West Warwick Public Library
Family History Centers
  • Family History Centers are branch facilities of
    the Family History Library in Salt Lake
    City. They were founded to gather genealogical
    information for their members in 1894. Centers
    provide access to most of the microfilms and
    microfiche in the Family History Library to help
    patrons identify their ancestors.  It is
    sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of
    Latter-Day Saints and everyone is welcome to use
    the resources.
  • The Rhode Island facility is located at
  • 1000 Narragansett ParkwayWarwick, Rhode Island,
  • Phone 401-463-8150

    Hours T 10am-2pm, W 10am-2pm 7-9pm, Th 6 -9pm,
    FSat 10am-2pm, closed Sunday Monday
  • WebsiteFamily Search

West Warwick Public Library
National, State, and Local Offices
  • There are various resources one can use to
    research genealogy on a national, state, and
    local level.
  • National Archives and Record Administration-Holdin
    gs of Federal Censuses and Government Documents.
  • National Archives (New England Chapter)
  • State Archives-This may vary from state to state,
    but for Rhode Island, the State Archives house
    Census Records, Vital Records, and Federal
    Products of Industry and Agriculture for Rhode
  • Rhode Island State Archives
  • Local Offices- Since Rhode Island did not mandate
    a control of vital records until 1853, individual
    city and town halls kept and still keep all
    records of birth, marriages, and deaths.
  • West Warwick Town Hall

West Warwick Public Library
Historical and Genealogical Societies
  • Many Historical and Genealogical societies house
    unique collections and documents of local
    history. Since they specialize in historical and
    genealogical documents, they can often times
    offer great assistance. These are just a few
    located in Rhode Island.
  • The Rhode Island Historical Society- is a
    private, non-profit educational and cultural
    organization established in 1822 to collect,
    preserve and share Rhode Island's history. (Also
    town historical societies).
  • Rhode Island Historical Society Library
  • American-French Genealogical Society-a non-profit
    genealogical and historical organization devoted
    to people of French-Canadian extraction.
  • American-French Genealogical Society
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society-the
    oldest genealogical society in the country. For
    over 150 years, NEHGS has helped new and
    experienced researchers trace their heritage in
    New England and around the world.
  • New England Ancestors

West Warwick Public Library
Public Libraries
  • Public Libraries are a great place to begin your
    genealogical search. They will supply you with
    books on how to go about your search as well as
    resources to search through. City and Town
    Public libraries will usually collect the local
    newspaper, street directories, yearbooks, and
    archival maps when possible. They may also carry
    church and funeral directories of births,
    marriages, and deaths. Lastly, many libraries my
    have databases to further your search.
  • West Warwick Public Library

West Warwick Public Library
RI Cemetery Database
  • It is now possible to search the RI Historical
    Cemetery Database on a computer at a few Rhode
    Island public libraries or the Rhode Island
    Historical Society for an ancestor buried
    anywhere in the state. The Rhode Island
    Cemeteries Database project was begun in 1990 as
    a way to document and computerize the many
    historical cemeteries around the state. In 1990
    there were 2,833 registered historical cemeteries
    with an estimated 430,00 inscriptions. There is
    a searchable Master Index located on the USGenWeb
  • Master Index Cemetery Database

West Warwick Public Library
  • When searching genealogy on the internet, one
    could get extremely lost. There are over 150,000
    sites that pertain to genealogy. For an
    excellent resource on genealogical internet sites
    you can refer to Cyndis List which is found in
    both book and web form Cyndi's List.
  • A couple of the most popular sites for
    genealogical searches are
  • Ancestry
  • Ancestry.Com
  • Family Search
  • Family Search
  • Genealogy
  • Genealogy.Com

West Warwick Public Library
Creating the Family Tree
  • Now that you know how to gather the
    information, you can begin to create your family
    tree, whether it be on paper, in a computer
    program, or posted online.

West Warwick Public Library
Programs and Services to Build Your Tree
  • There are many ways to put together your
    ancestral tree.
  • You can custom order a tree from the Tree Maker
  • The Tree Maker
  • You can purchase a software program to create
    your tree on the computer
  • Family Tree Software
  • You can download a free program from Family
  • Family Search Program
  • You can design your own on paper

West Warwick Public Library
Book and Web Resources
  • Since Genealogy has become on of Americas
    favorite hobbies, there are a prolific amount of
    books and websites to be searched on the topic.
    Your local library or bookstore will have an
    ample selection of books for you to choose from,
    while the Internet will overwhelm you with sites.
    Handouts on some popular websites will help to
    minimize the confusion. A handout of a few of
    the book resources found at the West Warwick
    Public Library is included in your packet. You
    are now ready to begin your genealogical quest
    and discover who your ancestors are.

West Warwick Public Library