Home can be a treasure trove of family history data

Bibles, books of remembrance, church and civil certificates, journals and scrapbooks are often fundamental research sources.

Research begins at home, said Barbara Renick, in her workshop, "Seven Rules for a Successful Start in Family History."

  1. Most of the information in a four-generation pedigree can be completed from sources at home, she said. Among the sources at home are: albums, Bibles, biographies, books of remembrance, church and civil certificates, citizenship records, dairies and journals, fraternal records, histories, legal papers, letters, military records, newspaper clippings, occupational records, school records and scrapbooks.

Computer sources, available from home, will greatly augment the search. Registering your search into an Internet site can help you tap into work already done.

  1. No repository will supply all the sources needed. Neither the Family History Library nor the Internet will bring you all the answers for which you are seeking. Check the Research Guidance Section of www.FamilySearch.org for a superb lists of record types, background information, availability and advice on where to look next.
  1. Research is a process; map your route. Family history comes in five phases: the background phase, the survey phase, the research phase, the evaluation phase and the preservation phase. To get started in these phases, a person can take a tutorial, "How Do I Begin," on familysearch site; or "Finding Your Ancestors," on the BYU Independent Study site, http://ce.byu.edu/is/famhist/secure/title.htm. Take a beginning class in family history, then take it again. Then take a more advanced class.
  1. To err is human. Always know what you are looking at — compiled or primary sources. Don't believe anything you see in print or online until you have evaluated it in light of other evidence.
  1. Grease the wheels of progress by being considerate of those of whom you ask help. Don't wear them out.
  1. Never, never, never give up. New resources are becoming available every day. Question relatives, librarians and others (after all that you can do). And don't put off till tomorrow (or until you retire) what you need to do today. Don't wait until you are the oldest generation alive to start asking questions. That's the toughest kind of research.
  1. Leave yourself a treasure map. Keep a careful record of where you have been, what you have looked at, and what was the record's condition and reliability.

E-mail: [email protected]