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Getting Started With Genealogy An Introduction to Genealogical Research West Warwick Public Library 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting Started With Genealogy An Introduction to Genealogical Research West Warwick Public Library 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting Started With Genealogy An Introduction to Genealogical Research West Warwick Public Library 2003

2 Presentation Outline  What is Genealogy  Where to Begin  Charts and Forms  Types of Records  Where to Search  Creating the Family Tree  Book and Web Resources West Warwick Public Library

3 What is Genealogy? An Account of one’s descent from an ancestor or ancestors, by enumeration of the intermediate persons. ~ OED or A mixture of living history, written records, and family lore. ~ The Genealogy Handbook West Warwick Public Library

4 Where to Begin The best place to embark on your genealogical quest is right in your own home. Start with yourself and work backward, one generation at a time. Begin to collect any documents pertaining to you and your family such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, report cards, etc. West Warwick Public Library

5 Interviewing Once you’ve selected the branch of the family you would like to begin with, interview as many family members as possible and write or record these oral histories. Make note of even the smallest details, it may come in handy later on in your search. West Warwick Public Library

6 Some Ideas for Questions  Names and residences  Pictures  Schooling and profession  Migration information  Religion, culture, hobbies  Heirlooms and special items  Skeletons in the closet West Warwick Public Library

7 Charts and Forms Now that you have started gathering information on your family, there are various charts and forms that can help you organize the information you discover.  Family Group Record  Ancestral or Pedigree Chart  Vital Records Form  Census Extraction Form  Soundex Card  Research Calendar West Warwick Public Library

8 This genealogical form depicts a couple and their biological or adopted offspring. This is useful to organize your family by family units. This form includes such information as:  Religion  Church  Occupation  Cause of Death  Place of christening Family Group Record West Warwick Public Library

9 This chart usually displays 5 to 6 generations and is useful as an overview of your family. (fathers are recorded beside even numbers, mothers are recorded beside odd numbers.) This form includes the following fields of information.  Date of birth: B  Place of birth: P  Date of marriage: M  Place of marriage: P  Date of death: D  Place of death: P Ancestral Chart Ancestral or Pedigree Chart West Warwick Public Library

10 Vital Records Form This form allows you to keep track of marriage, birth and death certificates. It is organized by town, region, or country so that you know where the original records are kept. The following fields are included:  Year  Type  Certificate #  Copied West Warwick Public Library

11 Census Extraction Form The Census, a mandate of the constitution, was signed as a law by George Washington in 1790. These forms help keep track of the census information from 1790 to 1930. It is a clear form that is set up according to the column headings specific to each year. Census Forms: 1790-1930 West Warwick Public Library

12 Soundex Card With the idea of putting many people to work in government, President Franklin Roosevelt used some of the WPA workers to organize the Soundex. There are a few censuses that were indexed using a code called Soundex, rather than the original name. The 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 used this form of indexing. The soundex code consists of the initial letter of your last name and 3 coded numbers replace the following letters. Although you can do this by hand, there is a convenient converter located on the web. Soundex Converter West Warwick Public Library

13 Research Calendar It is extremely important to keep track of where and what you have searched. A written record of all sources searched, including both positive and negative results will save hours of time and energy later on in your search. Research Calendar West Warwick Public Library

14 Types of Records There are many records and documents to search on your genealogical quest. Probably the three most important types of records are:  Census Records  Judiciary Records  Vital Records West Warwick Public Library

15 Census Records Federal Census records provide a wealth of information dating back to the first census in 1790, although many of the 1790 records were destroyed by the British during the War of 1812. The Federal Census is conducted every ten years and is public information after 72 years. The 1930’s census has just been released. The information provided on each census varies from such information as occupation to number of insane in a household. They often times identify citizenship or immigration information. Beginning in 1880, the Censuses began to include place of birth of both Mother and Father. The 1890 Census is significant for it provides Veteran information. West Warwick Public Library

16 Census Records-State The state of Rhode Island conducted a census every ten years on the fifth year beginning in 1865. A street address is often times necessary to review the state censuses. 1905 is a great year to research in Rhode Island because it begins to list the entry country and by that point 1/3 of the population was foreign born. The 1865 State Census provides Civil War information, while the 1875 Census begins to document citizenship. West Warwick Public Library

17 Judiciary Records Judiciary records provide genealogists with divorce, criminal, and naturalization information. For Rhode Island, they are housed at the Rhode Island Supreme Court Judicial Records Center. You can email a request or use the facilities to locate the following:  Civil Cases between 1671-1900  Criminal Cases between 1671-1900  Divorce Cases between 1749-1900  Naturalization Papers between 1793-1974 Social Security was signed into law by FDR in August 1935, before this point there was not much incentive for becoming naturalized citizens, also, before 1920, women would not be naturalized. RI Judicial Records Center (Andrew Smith) West Warwick Public Library

18 Vital Records Birth, Marriage, and Death records serve as a stepping stone to most genealogical research. An accurate date is sometimes crucial to identifying an ancestor. Most state archives or historical societies house these records. For Rhode Island records, the state archives contain vital records after 1853 until 1953 for death records and 1903 for birth and marriage records. Local town halls will carry these as well as previous vital records. To obtain records after these dates, one can contact the Rhode Island Department of Health. A good source for very early records is the Vital Record of Rhode Island: 1636-1850. It is a twenty-one volume set listed by county. Vital Records West Warwick Public Library

19 Where to Search There are many places to search ancestral records. Since each location will vary in their collections, many avenues may have to be explored for a complete genealogical search. The following is a list of places where you can search.  Family History Centers  National, State, and Local Offices  Historical and Genealogical Societies  Public Libraries  Internet West Warwick Public Library

20 Family History Centers Family History Centers are branch facilities of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They were founded to gather genealogical information for their members in 1894. Centers provide access to most of the microfilms and microfiche in the Family History Library to help patrons identify their ancestors. It is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and everyone is welcome to use the resources. The Rhode Island facility is located at: 1000 Narragansett Parkway Warwick, Rhode Island, 02888 Phone: 401-463-8150 Hours: T 10am-2pm, W 10am-2pm & 7-9pm, Th 6 -9pm, F&Sat 10am-2pm, closed Sunday & Monday Website:Family SearchFamily Search West Warwick Public Library

21 National, State, and Local Offices There are various resources one can use to research genealogy on a national, state, and local level.  National Archives and Record Administration-Holdings of Federal Censuses and Government Documents. National ArchivesNational Archives (New England Chapter)(New England Chapter)  State Archives-This may vary from state to state, but for Rhode Island, the State Archives house Census Records, Vital Records, and Federal Products of Industry and Agriculture for Rhode Island. Rhode Island State Archives  Local Offices- Since Rhode Island did not mandate a control of vital records until 1853, individual city and town halls kept and still keep all records of birth, marriages, and deaths. West Warwick Town Hall West Warwick Public Library

22 Historical and Genealogical Societies Many Historical and Genealogical societies house unique collections and documents of local history. Since they specialize in historical and genealogical documents, they can often times offer great assistance. These are just a few located in Rhode Island.  The Rhode Island Historical Society- is a private, non-profit educational and cultural organization established in 1822 to collect, preserve and share Rhode Island's history. (Also town historical societies). Rhode Island Historical Society Library  American-French Genealogical Society-a non-profit genealogical and historical organization devoted to people of French-Canadian extraction. American-French Genealogical Society  New England Historic Genealogical Society-the oldest genealogical society in the country. For over 150 years, NEHGS has helped new and experienced researchers trace their heritage in New England and around the world. New England Ancestors West Warwick Public Library

23 Public Libraries Public Libraries are a great place to begin your genealogical search. They will supply you with books on how to go about your search as well as resources to search through. City and Town Public libraries will usually collect the local newspaper, street directories, yearbooks, and archival maps when possible. They may also carry church and funeral directories of births, marriages, and deaths. Lastly, many libraries my have databases to further your search. West Warwick Public Library

24 RI Cemetery Database It is now possible to search the RI Historical Cemetery Database on a computer at a few Rhode Island public libraries or the Rhode Island Historical Society for an ancestor buried anywhere in the state. The Rhode Island Cemeteries Database project was begun in 1990 as a way to document and computerize the many historical cemeteries around the state. In 1990 there were 2,833 registered historical cemeteries with an estimated 430,00 inscriptions. There is a searchable Master Index located on the USGenWeb website. Master Index Cemetery Database West Warwick Public Library

25 Internet When searching genealogy on the internet, one could get extremely lost. There are over 150,000 sites that pertain to genealogy. For an excellent resource on genealogical internet sites you can refer to Cyndi’s List which is found in both book and web form: Cyndi's List.Cyndi's List A couple of the most popular sites for genealogical searches are:  Ancestry Ancestry.Com  Family Search Family Search  Genealogy Genealogy.Com West Warwick Public Library

26 Creating the Family Tree Now that you know how to gather the information, you can begin to create your family tree, whether it be on paper, in a computer program, or posted online. West Warwick Public Library

27 Programs and Services to Build Your Tree There are many ways to put together your ancestral tree.  You can custom order a tree from the Tree Maker service. The Tree Maker  You can purchase a software program to create your tree on the computer Family Tree Software  You can download a free program from Family Search Family Search Program  You can design your own on paper West Warwick Public Library

28 Book and Web Resources Since Genealogy has become on of America’s favorite hobbies, there are a prolific amount of books and websites to be searched on the topic. Your local library or bookstore will have an ample selection of books for you to choose from, while the Internet will overwhelm you with sites. Handouts on some popular websites will help to minimize the confusion. A handout of a few of the book resources found at the West Warwick Public Library is included in your packet. You are now ready to begin your genealogical quest and discover who your ancestors are. West Warwick Public Library

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