Many people are overwhelmed by the idea of beginning their own genealogy. But really, everyone from the beginner to the professional follow the same steps. And in this age of technology, it has never been easier! While I believe everyone should begin with whatever aspect they are most interested in -here are 5 basic steps to help you get started.
1. Begin with your own home. What documents do you have that give information about yourself, your spouse, your children, your parents, etc. Then look for heirlooms and objects with family value.
2. Interview your family for more information. Start with your parents or your living oldest relative. Ask them everything you can think of. There are many great sites out there with ideas for interview questions.
3. Now that you have a lot of information (hopefully!) you should put down everything you have in a family tree chart. This should help you to clarify what it is you have and should also help you with deciding where you can go next.
4. Looking at your family tree there should be several last names available to you to begin your research. Pick one. It doesn't matter which one, just pick. It may seem weird but I always feel a sort of tug at my heart from one of the families. So that is where I start.
5. Once you have your name begin looking through sources for that name using the information you already have as a jumping off point. If you know your great-grandfather died in Chicago in 1911 begin looking for his name in the US federal census in 1910 -starting with Chicago.