This 6-part article is here to help guide you along your journey of discovery, laying a firm foundation for you and your descendants to carry on the task for many generations ahead. Part 2 explained how to get started, Part 3 shows how to organize all the information you have gathered and where to get more.
Part 3- What do I do with it all and where can I find out more information? There are several options available. You can keep the information in your spiral notebooks or you can either enter the information you have in on-line programs or you could use available computer programs. Some computer programs by name, in no particular order: Legacy, Roots Magic, Cyndi’s list, Family Tree Maker, Ancestral Quest, Family Historian, The Master Genealogist, DoroTree, Genbox Family History, WinFamily, and FamTree to name a few. Some online programs, also in no particular order are: Family Tree on Facebook, Ancestry.com, USGenWeb Project, Family Search, Family Tree Magazine, My Heritage, FamilySearch.org to name only a few.
They each have their positives and negatives, it depends on what you are after and how you want to present your information. One great advantage to some over the others, is what they can help you with in finding out more information about your ancestors and connecting with other people who might share your ancestors too.
If you would like a little boost in getting organized, or separate spiral notebooks sounds too confusing to you, many of these products, whether for your computer or online, will have forms. These can be as a family unit, individual worksheet, generation chart, research logs and checklists, research extracts, cemetery forms, correspondence logs, literary logs, census worksheets and so on. It can be overwhelming, which is why I recommend starting out with spiral notebooks. Whichever method you choose, do keep track of what you find where, how to find it again, who you talked to and how to contact them again and which ancestor(s) it is important to.
The biggest hint I can share with you, is that you can’t do all of this research on your own. It will take other family members, libraries, other genealogists, historical societies, online searches, city governments, books, newspapers, magazines, census, and universities. Sometimes in casual conversation with people you will find information you didn’t even know existed.
Next time we will cover Part 4- where to find more information about your family and how to protect primary documents.