How to Search Your Family History

Researching Your Family History

  • "Tracing Your Family Heritage...Tips on How to Get Started"
    The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston compiled this handy two-page primer.

  • Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (35 Northwest Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84150. 801-240-2331)

    An excellent starting point for tracking down family members, past and present. It offers a vast family history library containing the world's largest collection of genealogical records (Mormons are only a small percentage of the database). There are two million rolls of microfilm and 30,000 bound volumes containing two billion names.

    The staff helps with questions and can refer you to resources. The massive databases also can be checked through visiting one of the 1,800 Family Search Centers in the U.S and Canada. Call for the nearest location.

  • Genealogy on the Internet

    The online community is full of helpful, dedicated genealogists who offer a vast amount of information through their organizations and online magazines.

    There are hundreds of interesting sites. The following short list offers an idea of how varied and rich they are:

    1. National Genealogical Society
    Here's a great jumping-off point with numerous links and trails to explore. The Society offers a network of libraries, family organizations, genealogical and historical societies. It also has a quarterly journal, bimonthly newsletters and a home study course on genealogy.

    2. Everton's Genealogical Helper
    Another great place to find basic genealogical information on the hows and wheres of genealogy--not just on the Internet but searching in a specific community or hometown. Here's everything from a "Getting Started" section, to the "Basics of Sound Research, to "General Scams" (such as mail order genealogy offers) as well as "20 Ways to Avoid Genealogical Grief."

    "African-American Genealogical Societies in the U.S." is one of several sub sections found in Everton. It offers a good listing of societies devoted to the study of African American history.

    3. Journal of Online Genealogy
    This online journal is published regularly. Its articles, advice and stories offer good trails and guidance for amateur genealogists.

    4. The RAND Genealogy Club
    This group of RAND employees share the hobby of tracing their family trees and have assembled a first-class site that shows the genealogical resources available on the "information highway." It also includes information on regional and ethic genealogy.

    5. On Line Magazine of Genealogists/Everton Genealogical Helper online edition
    Each month this magazine features helpful primers for budding genealogists. Past issues are also available online. For example, the September 1996 issue explains ancestor tracking online in York County, Pennsylvania and the October issue features databases of Australian immigrants and Union 'Colored' Troops.

    6. Center for Life Stories Preservation
    Pointing out that genealogical dates and places are only " the skeleton of the family history - it is the stories which give it its character, " the Center encourages people to write down their family stories and offers tips on how to get family members to share their memories. There are pages for tracking military records, and ideas for gathering stories for wedding anniversaries, grandchildren and the family album.

discussions | blurred racial lines | audio stories | june's family tree | bi-racial portraits | how to search family trees | readings | reactions

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

NEXT ON FRONTLINE

Losing IraqJuly 29th

RECENT STORIES

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS