Employ the following steps to find your family tree .
1. Every section of a family's genealogy should be as complete as possible. Endeavor to assemble an accurate account of each family's history. Someday, our descendants will be researching us . Those who follow us will appreciate working with correct information as they research their family tree.
2. Do not be a copy cat . Do collect as much information as you can for proper assessment . Just because it is in print does not make it a true statement. Many early genealogies were based on incorrect research.
3. A famly history , to be useful should indicate the sources that were collected in the records . Use a reference bibliography and do your own research, when ever possible . Another person's interpretation of the information may not be complete or accurate . Copying someone's error only perpetuates the mistake.
Sources of data fall into two categories, primary and secondary . Primary sources are those statements or records , verbal or written, made near or at the time of the event . The source will be an eyewitness account or from someone associated with the event . The preference for primary sources should be obvious . A secondary source comes from a non-witness, or one not associated with the occurrence . The recollection possibly would have been made later , from memory. Information sources will be found in many places including vital records, census and obituaries .
4. Do not procrastinate . Relatives can give first hand eye witness versions not be found elsewhere. A life time of "tomorrows' may be needed to discover the answers to questions that you could have asked.
5. With records, as with sources , there are two criteria to judge credibility. Are the records original, or copies? An original is the first transcription of an happening in accordance with the lawor custom.
The occurance may be noted in more than one orginal records. The birth of a child could appear in Vital Statistics, in the Church Registry, and perhaps in the Family Bible. These records would be classified as originals because, in each case, it was the first entry of the birth in that vicinity. A copied record is one that has been transcribed, compiled, or copied from another record. The other record may have been an original, or it may have been a copy . Each time a copy is transcribed there is a possibility for error. Every new copy , increases the chances of errors.
6. A certified copy is considered an official copy, but it is a copy, and is subject to error. This issue has been reduced with the wide spread use of scanning or photocopying . A scanned copy of an original document can be considered the same as the original.
7. No genealogy is considered complete unless family tree research is done for each individual of the family. No one should be overlooked and no one should be eliminated .
8. A name ought to be recorded as the complete name. Avoid using ditto marks. Always record the complete names of the children on a family group sheet or in your computer database . When If a person has been known by a nickname, include it.
9. If you find a certain name has been used, such as Betty, on some documents, and or nickname for the same person on other records, ensure you make note of both the names.
10. A child born to unwed parents assumes the mother's name most frequently.
Use these 10 steps to guide your genealogy knowledge.