Where Are You From?
Given the popularity of television shows like “Genealogy Roadshow” on PBS and TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are”, curiosity about family history is common. Genealogy research starts with a few questions and can lead to a fun hobby for generations to come.
Where Do I Start?
Genealogy research begins at home. To start, you’ll need a plan to organize family legal documents, photographs and news articles. A binder gives you the flexibility to expand your organization system as your research grows.
Initially, it is helpful to create a binder divider system based on your grandparents’ surnames. Write-on index tabs give you the flexibility to personalize your genealogy binder. You can begin by collecting all the documentation you know about your parents and branch out your family tree from there. If you already have stacks of information about your family, it may be more efficient to start with four binders for each grandparent’s surname.
A binder and acid free sheet protectors are ideal for organizing copies of legal documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, real estate transactions and news articles. Protect photographs with archival quality photo pages or sheet protectors.
Finding the Roots of Your Family Tree
Once you set up your genealogy organization system, you are ready to curate your family history and fill in the blanks. This step is often the most rewarding and fun part of tracing your family history. Get together with family members and listen carefully to the stories of the “olden days.” Show off your genealogy binder and request copies of photographs and family artifacts to add to your research.
Use a video camera to interview your relatives. Transfer the interviews onto a flash drive and store the flash drive in a binder envelope in your binder. Also, it may seem old fashioned, but be sure to transcribe, print out your interviews and file them in your binder for future reference. As a family historian, you’ll want your research to be available to your descendants for generations. Keep in mind an information cloud, digital photo collection or flash drive will one day be as archaic as your great grandmother’s gramophone.
Where to Find Genealogy Data
When you are ready to delve further into the roots of your family tree and corroborate the family legends, there are plenty of sources for genealogy data. Historical maps, gravestone photos and obituaries can offer insights to your family history. There are many popular online sources for historical records such as the recently released National Archives 1940 Census records.
Other sources include:
County Seats for land deeds and official records
Local Historical Societies
U.S. National Archives for access to census records, immigration records, ship passenger lists, military records, land records
Facebook groups to connect with distant relatives in the U.S. and across the globe
As with any online activity, use caution when sharing personal information.
For a binder that will organize your genealogy research for years and withstand daily use, try Bindertek’s 3 Ring Archival Binders. These heavy duty binders feature unique binder rings for maximum capacity. The sturdy binders are built with turned edge construction and long lasting metal piano hinges. Learn more at Bindertek.com.