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Samuel Anderson
Middlesex Genealogical Society
Darien, CT

Getting Started

See also Family History Research Wiki and an article by Virginia Banerjee on Getting Started

  1. Define your goals. A family tree? A family history? Your family? Your spouse's family? A book? A Website?
  2. Start with your family. Then work backward, one branch at a time.
  3. Interview family members. Get their input. Ask for records: birthplaces, marriage, ancestors, and immigration. Record what you learn.
  4. Gather readily available information. Family trees, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, obituaries, and photographs. Google your ancestors.
  5. Make a family tree. There are several different ways:
  6. Ask for help.
  7. Get U.S. census information. Access available free at Darien Library and most other libraries.
  8. Search city directories. The New York Public Library has directories for cities across the country.
  9. Search historical records.
  10. Use social networking. Facebook groups and pages related to genealogy and history
  11. Read about genealogy. MGS Newsletters, books, and Internet links.
  12. Attend workshops. MGS program Meetings. Organizations mentioned in the MGS Newsletters.
  13. Make field trips. Visit libraries, archives, historical societies, town halls, churches, cemeteries.
  14. Put results on-line. Consider putting your results on-line to attract input from distant cousins. See Members Pages

Beware of ready-made family histories and coats of arms, usually worthless.