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Genealogy Resources Online

Sean Spencer, Software Development Expert and Author

Tracing one’s ancestry, known as genealogy, has become a popular activity in the U.S. In previous decades, it was somewhat difficult to conduct efficient research. Today, however, online resources help to make this task much easier and informative. It helps to compile an outline of what you already know so far and be further supplemented by interviewing family members about vital data and lives of relatives. All of this information can form a valuable base when you begin your hunt. Remember to stay as organized as possible, since genealogy tends to involve very large amounts of data, images, and files.

Where and How to Search

After getting first-hand account from family members, look through official records of your town or state if the family has lived there for a while. This can range from archived government census data to records stored at the library. At the beginning, focus on finding names, dates of births, deaths, information about marriages and children; it is also worth it to check a couple of genealogy websites. In many cases, a far removed relative may have already uncovered large parts of your family history!

When searching online, use quotation marks around the person’s full name. Alternatively, try searching with slightly modified versions of the last name. Over time, surnames occasionally change. For example, Fernandez might also be spelled as Fernandes, while a name like Bretagne could be changed to Breton over the centuries. Other records that could prove especially helpful include ship manifest lists, military personnel archives, immigration records, and so on. There are plenty of free resources online and in print, but there are also some that require payment for viewing or use.

Creating a Visual Family Tree

A fun way to display a family tree is by using a photo for each person. Children especially enjoy this type of activity, and it is a great way to help them get involved. Print out a couple of genealogy worksheets for kids and allow them to work alongside you. It will make them feel that they are part of the effort, while leaving your own work undisturbed.

Mapping a Diagram Family Tree

There are many different ways in which people map out their family trees. To get started quickly, try using blank templates. There are several available that outline relationships across many generations. It is also highly advisable to use charts and logs to maintain all of the new information that you come across in your research.

  • Why Map a Tree? – Creating a family tree is helpful for you as well as future generations.
  • Genealogy Templates – Pick from a selection of blank charts, logs, and record templates to keep information organized.
  • Relationship Chart – Use this chart as a reference guide to determine relationships.
  • Family Tree Printable – Download and print a blank template listing four generations.
  • Genealogy Forms – Print free charts outlining pedigrees, relationships, family records and plenty more.
  • Genealogy Worksheet – This worksheet can be used to jot down notes in an orderly fashion when researching your ancestry.

Additional Resources