Where does one get started? I'm not sure how many times I've heard this question, but I asked it myself when I got interested in my genealogy. I was lucky, my wife's interest in family research helped me get started. She set me on the path of discovery, and now I'm glad I had her to guide me along. Many do not have the luxury of a good lady to show them this path, but if you follow this simple guide it may provide you with the information you need.
1. Talk to your relatives.
Your living relatives can be your starting point. Talk to parents, grandparents, and the like to find information about past generations. Even though you are looking for names and dates please write down stories and interesting information on your ancestors. The following are some things you can ask your relatives:
a. Names and dates of parents, grandparents, etc.
b. Military history, unit names, battles, etc.
c. Names of cities, towns, counties, states, and nations where your ancestors lived or traveled from.
d. Names of brothers and sisters and their information.
e. Stories, tales, and legends of relatives living and deceased. Remember, your living relatives will not be with you forever. Try to preserve their history as well.
f. Ask about a Family Bible. Sometimes you will find births and death dates recorded inside. Most information recorded in a Family Bible is considered fact.
2. Hit the books.
Now locate a local library that has a genealogy section. This can be a public library or the local Church of Latter-Day-Saints Genealogy Center. Call around to your local libraries to see if such facilities exist. If you have no genealogy facility near you then you may need to find the closest one to you and plan a trip.
While there you will find books and computer files on land grants, birth records, military histories, and complete family trees. Try to locate names told to you by your relatives. Once you have located those in a book or computer then start looking for information on their parents. Copy all information you find. Some places will let you make copies on their machines but some others may not. So always pack a notebook and pencil with you.
You may be lucky and find all you need at a local library. For those of you who turn up empty handed proceed on.
Surf's Up! Get on your computer and check out genealogy sites. The Internet has opened up all types of avenues to the genealogist. Not all you find will be good, but a good portion of the information will be what you are looking for. Check out our genealogy section at Genealogy.htm. Check out all sites that interest you. Copy what you need or print it from your system.
All the while you should be keeping a good record of your findings. If you are looking to join the SCV and would like help documenting your information, then contact your local camp and inquire about help. Many current members stand ready to help potential members. If you are interested in joining the General James Patton Anderson Camp #1599 please contact us . We will be more than happy to aid you in your search for a Confederate ancestor.
This page written by Robert Anderson, Camp #1599
West Palm Beach, Florida CSA.