When Starting a Genealogy Project, Start With Yourself

Tens of thousands of folks are getting into the hobby of genealogy. That means that a whole lot of folks are about to get hooked on a delightful pastime. And many wonder just where to start.

Even in the high-tech era in which we live, nothing has changed a whole lot about how and where to start… The rule is this… Start with yourself. Record the basic stats on yourself. Where and when were you born? Where and when did you marry? More than once? Then record that too… I wouldn’t fuss with attempting a death date and place, as you’re recording the past, not the future.

You might even consider writing or recording your personal family stories. Genealogists always attempt to interview the relatives, starting with the oldest first. But how about recording your own stories and experiences. These are even easier to record than those of other family members. If you could use a memory jogger, an inexpensive and extremely thorough book is Recording Your Family History, by William Fletcher. It still sells for under $10.00.

Once you have your own basic facts recorded, then it’s time to move on. If your parents are living, interview them. The same goes for your aunts, and uncles, grandparents and cousins. The basic facts of where and when for birth, marriage and death are most important. On these facts can hang your entire family history. I think of these vital statistics as the skeleton on which you can build. Putting flesh on the bones with the family stories and such can make up a fascinating narrative.


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