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Extended Research

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." – Stage 3

George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) (Shaw, Quatations)

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Now that you have gotten the groundwork of your family tree, it is time to move on to the next level of research. This is where you get to use an old-fashioned form of research – the mail and foot work. You have finally found evidence of great grandma's birthplace, or great uncle Harold's military service now you need to get conformation. Yep you guessed it, more paperwork, filling out forms either to mail off for the information or to take to the courthouse to get copies of the records you are looking for.

Stage 3
The extended research may take you to many places:
  • Public Library for Local Newspaper Files
  • Church for Baptismal Records
  • LDS Family History Center
  • National Archives in Washington, DC
  • Cemeteries

Man Drumming Fingers There are many places to search for original records. This requires determination and perseverance. Many records can be sent for, but you need to know where to send for the information. This is a much more complicated subject than I will get into here. I will touch on this briefly, but let me mention the dreaded paperwork first.

You must keep an up-to-date Correspondence Form for all correspondence and a Research Log for all research including research done at libraries, courthouses, etc. This is essential since physically searching is much more likely to be at a distance or with a book gotten through interlibrary loan. In either case, getting to the information again may be next to impossible if you do not write down exactly where you got the information.

Many records can be photocopied for a small fee by the repository holding them. Records such as military records, pension records, wills, land, etc. Go to "What Records to Search" found in the Forms link to the left, this will give you a much longer list of places to search for specific records.


My family coat of arms ties at the back...is that normal?

This one is more serious, how do you answer:

A good ancestor keeps certificates including birth and death certificates; records including health, military, naturalization, and school; passports; newspaper and church notices; awards; photos; art and craft work; journals; Bibles; diaries; baby, school and wedding books; heirlooms.

He or she dates correspondence, cares for tombstones, keeps research organized, writes or tapes the family stories, and supports family organizations.

A good ancestor dates everything, is sure that full names are included, records where material may be found and always sees that at least one other copy of important data is somewhere else.

A hundred years from now, will they think you were a good ancestor?

Does this sound like some of your relatives?

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:

I was somebody.

Who, is no business of yours.

Anything that could have burned, did.