So you are ready to start documenting your family tree? But where / how do you start? The pat-answer is "You start at the beginning!" or in the case of Genealogy you stat with yourself. I know it seems like an impossible mountain to climb, but if you take if one step at a time you'll soon be making discoveries.
GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH IS ADDICTIVE
Every answer creates two more questions
FIRST: Just like cooking, you need to gather all of your "ingredients," or in this case tools and supplies that you will be using.
* Get a Genealogy software program for your computer. There are many different genealogy software programs available. You can see a good list at Wikipedia's Genealogy Software Comparison . Some are free and some are for sale. I use FAMILY TREE MAKER, but you can find a list of the top 10 free programs at ListOfFreeware.com You can also construct your family tree on-line at Geni.com, MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org (LDS Church site) and familyecho.com .
* Get a few forms that will help you through your journey. These forms are FAMILY PEDIGREE FORMS, FAMILY GROUP SHEETS, FAMILY MEMBER INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRES, GENEALOGY "TO DO" SHEETS.
Many of these forms can be downloaded for free from Ancestry's Free Charts & Forms , a really good Family Member Interview Form (4 pages) can be found at InterviewPDFForm and an Inventory/ToDo List can be found at My To-DoList
* Get a small, digital recorder to record your relative as you inventory them. You may also want to get a small digital Video Recorder for the same reason. (I wish I had done this when I had my older relatives around--Now they are all gone)
* Get a digital camera to record grave sites, individuals and residences.
Ok, now you start with yourself. Sit down and fill out a Family Group Sheet (FGS) for yourself, your parents and even your grandparents (if you can). Don't be surprised if you find out out one of your parents or grand parents official names were different than you thought. My mother always said he name was Phyllis Mararite when it was actually Phyllis Margaret. We didn't find this out until she died.
The next step is to go and interview your older/est relatives. Use the interview sheets and take your time. Fill out a FGS for each of them AND a INVENTORY/TO-DO list for each of them.
Enter yourself, your parents and your grand parents on a pedigree sheet.
Now you are on your way.........
Tomorrow: PITFALLS YOU NEED TO AVOID & WHERE TO LOOK AFTER YOU'VE GOTTEN INFO FROM THE LIVING.