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Newbie questions - My Family Tree

Aug. 27th, 2009

01:23 pm - Newbie questions

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Yours truly may get sucked into ancestry.com. i'm seeking tips to do my own research before plunking down any money so i'm building out the tree on my paternal grandmother's side. i am a graduate student so doing research w/ persistence is not a problem for me. anything further back than census records of the mid-1800's then i may start to pay someone for help.

so - before i become too entrenched, a few questions and i'm sure i don't know enough to ask what i don't know to ask so please chime-in!

1) what else is out there w/ the DB like ancestry.com? it can reside on my machine or internet. i'm not fond of the UI design of ancestry as much.
2) sites to connect w/ others of similar surname, doing other geneological research in the USA?
3) other government sites?
4) things you wish someone would have told/warned you when you began your family research?

i do know my paternal grandfather's side. good story of about 10 years ago, went through the freedom of information act to find his background, everything the FBI found on his original parents as he was adopted - didn't find out till he was accepted by the FBI who asked for his birth certificate and his parents couldn't produce it...so it was a family secret till his 20's post law school. he was german thru and thru given up to an orphanage when his father died of smallpox. shocking as one of the first FBI agents, da' gov kept all the records on him down to his last home loan, 50+ years later after leaving the service post-wwII.

yada yada - research, tips, thoughts appreciated as i start this journey...


[User Picture]
Date:August 27th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
There are lots of free sites for research. The USGENWEB site consists of files transcribed by others doing research, shared to keep it free.

NARA, land bureau records, all kinds of gov't info now online to search.

There's a group called "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness" where people volunteer to do specific tasks - like county certificate look-ups, newspaper look-ups, etc. - for a specific territory (a county). You, too, can volunteer to do the same for your area.

The Mormons/LDS have an extensive site, largely information their members have provided, but you can go to any local Family History Center and access microfiche and microfilm of records and books at little or no charge.

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[User Picture]
Date:August 27th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)

All free sites. Also your local library may have ancestry and possible heritage on their computers and you can use it for free.

Family tree maker is an great way to keep track of your info. I didnt know about it until like 2yrs into mu research and I had a time transfering it all from paper to data.

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[User Picture]
Date:August 27th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
If you're near a regional NARA you can use Ancestry, Heritagequest and footnote free of charge. Most libraries also have ancestry as well.
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