Here is what I need:  namesdateslocations!  Print the pedigree chart linked to the bottom of this page.  For each person, tell me as much as you know:

  1. Names.  The more exact the better, as far as spellings, nicknames, middle names... For women, I need maiden names if at all possible.
  2. Year of birth (or a good guess).
  3. Where born (state or country). 
  4. Also, names of siblings are a huge help with the census records; if you can give me even one or two siblings, then I’ll know if I have the right family.

So, start with your parents, then each of their parents.  And so on – names and whatever other details you know.   Even small details can be very helpful.   

I need to get back far enough to be dealing with dead people!  For most of us that means grandparents or great-grandparents.  I need to get back to people born in the early 1900s.

If the spelling of the last name(s) changed along the way, or if several different spellings were used, let me know.  Sometimes just changing the spelling of a last name makes all the difference when I do a search.

Sometimes I can go back many generations, and sometimes I can’t.  Unusual last names are easier; common last names like “Miller” and “Johnson” are tougher.  Once I trace a family line out of the USA, the trail usually goes cold very quickly, unless other researchers have reliable info online.  (Exceptions are Canada and England, which have old census records online.)

If you have any documents—obituaries, wedding announcements, or birth/marriage/death records—or if you have any family tree work done by other relatives, I’d really like to see it before I start.  It can help me do a better job for you and not waste time finding information that you already have.   If you loan me the hard copies, I can scan them and then incorporate them into your binder, add them to your CD, and/or upload them to your online tree.  Or, you can email me a good scanned image of each.

Printable pedigree chart to fill in

What I Need to Get Started

Discovering your family's story