Monday, May 16, 2011

What's a beginner to do with mom's compiled genealogy?

From: Donovan Derr via Facebook

I am a new genealogist living in Newport, PA. I have received a bunch of files from my mother who has traced our family tree for some years and collected many things. But it is all unorganized and most of it is unsourced. I am looking for a mentor of sorts in my area to help me go thru it and get it organized and find out the missing parts and get a good start to trace my family history.
Your first FB response was from Jackie Fry who wrote: "All I can say is start by sorting through what your mother collected and separate it into piles, vital records, birth, marriage, death and the like. Then go through each pile and find names of relatives that go together. If she had pedigree charts use those as a guide when going through the vital records. That's how I would do it anyway."
GREAT advice, Jackie! 
Donovan, once you get your mother's compiled genealogy "organized" as Jackie recommends, you may wish to:
1. Join a local genealogy society to find out more about how to do research. The Pennsylvania GenWeb, part of the USGenWeb Project will have listings in your region.
2. Check with local adult ed classes to see if genealogy courses are offered. 
3. Attend free, but very worthwhile online classes at, and participate in genealogy webinars to improve your research skills.
4. Hire a professional researcher with expertise in the area where your ancestors once lived. Experienced genealogists can map out a suggested research plan, or can do the research for you. Such a professional will be familiar with record groups that have survived since your ancestors lived in a specific locality. You can look to the following organizations for suggestions of professional researchers:
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.