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Forms are a necessary evil for genealogical research. As stated earlier, one needs an almost obsessive attention to details. That is unless you really enjoy backtracking work you have already done! Remember "The Devil is in the Details!"

Forms vary according to the source, for instance, the forms obtained from The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Web site (LDS) (lds.org) will include sections for ceremonies specific to the church. Other forms will have more or less detail, however, I prefer the forms with more detail, this helps keep things on track. Though more detail takes more time at the beginning, it will speed the research process up in the end. Again, it cannot be stated too often that organization and documentation are the keys to high quality research results. Research is useless if it cannot be duplicated.

The following sections describe specific forms that can be used to help organize and keep track of researched individuals, their families, and the source of the information. For each section, there will be a brief description of the form as well as links to Adobe Acrobat PDF files. These files require the Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download the reader free at Adobe's website, Adobe.com. I have provided as many as three different versions of the same forms to allow you to see the differences and choose ones you feel most comfortable with.

The sections of this page are grouped by forms as follows:
Forms to Help Get Started
Pedigree Charts
Family Group Records
Census Forms 1790-1930
Research & Correspondence

Please remember ALL the following forms are pdf and clicking them will open a seperate window. These forms may take some time to open depending on your internet speed.

Forms to Help Get Started

Personal Timeline (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Home Checklist (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)

These forms help you get started in the present, remember the past isn't going anywhere. For more information on how to fill out the Timeline go to Activity Sheet(pdf). The Home Checklist is a helpfull reminder of where you can find informaiton in your home that can help in your research.

Pedigree Charts

Pedigree Chart (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Pedigree Chart (Online, LDS.org)
Ancestoral Chart (Eastman, Ancestery.com)

Pedigree charts are also called Ancestral Charts. These chart the family line starting with you. Position 1 is the starting point for that chart, this sounds redundant, but if you follow the lines to the right side of the page, you will notice "Cont. on chart no__." Person number 8 will become person one on the next page, this is done every time you come to the right side of a pedigree chart. This is referred to at the top left of the chart "No. one on this chart is the same as No.__ on pedigree chart no.__"

Family Group Records

Family Group Record pg 1 (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Family Group Record pg 2 (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Family Group Record (Online, LDS.org)
Family Group Record (Eastman, Ancestery.com)

Family group records note the information for a family (husband, wife, and children). The forms record information such as dates and place of birth, marriage, and death.

Census Forms 1790 - 1930

1790 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1800 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1810 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1820 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1830 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1840 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1850 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1860 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1870 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1880 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1890 Veterans Schedule (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1900 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1910 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1920 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
1930 Census (Eastman, Ancestery.com)

Use these forms to record data found in census records. Every year is different since questions asked varied year to year. The older the census record, the less information you will obtain. The census is taken every ten years; the information is not released for 70 years. Therefore, latest release is the 1930 census. With one exception, they are a wealth of information. Unfortunately, the 1890 census was almost completely destroyed in a fire. The remaining 1,233 pages cover only eleven states, "only 6,160 of the 62,979,766 people enumerated survived the fire." (Ancestory.com; 1890 U.S. Federal Census Fragment)

Research & Correspondence

Research Questions (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
What Records to Search (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Research Calendar (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
Research Extract (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
Research Log (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Source Notes Page 1 (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Source Notes Page 2 (Ancestors Charts, PBS.org)
Source Summary Form (Eastman, Ancestery.com)
Correspondence Form (Eastman, Ancestery.com)

  • Research Questions – This form has two possible uses. One is to keep track of questions you have as you look through your records. This gives you a direction to conduct further research. Two is to write questions you wish to ask in future interviews.
  • What Records to Search – This supplies guidelines about where to look for information.
  • Research Calendar – This helps to keep track of when and where you have looked for information. This is handy to keep for each individual or family group.
  • Research Extract – This seems to be an expanded version of the calendar.
  • Research Log – This form works well with the calendar.
  • Source Notes – Use to keep track of sources for each individual. References to pedigree chart number help keep up the organization needed to maintain your sanity.
  • Source Summary – Keeps track of the places and records you have already searched. This is a great help, since it helps to stop repeating the same searches you have already done.
  • Correspondence Form – This is an essential form! Did you send off for that record for Grandpa's war record? This keeps track of who you have written, when, and if they replied. Again, this stops the duplication of work.


Remember, undocumented genealogy is mythology.

You learn there is a county history on microfilm of the county your ancestors originated. It has 16000 pages and is not indexed.

I'm not stuck...I'm ancestrally challenged

My family tree must have been used for firewood!

Who's in charge of washing the Family Group Sheets?

I'd love to, but I'm converting from Julian to Gregorian!

You find your family in the census and write to the county where they lived for 40 years, only to receive a letter stating all the county records burned.

Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.

My family tree has root rot!

You know you're taking genealogy too seriously if...

You are the only person to show up at the cemetery research party with a shovel.

To put the "final touches" on your genealogical research, you've asked all of your closest relatives to provide DNA samples.

Your house leans slightly toward the side where your genealogical records are stored.
You decided to take a two-week break from genealogy, and the Postal Office immediately laid off 1,500 employees.

Out of respect for your best friend's unquestioned reputation for honesty and integrity, you are willing to turn off that noisy surveillance camera while she reviews your 57 genealogical research notebooks in your home. The armed security guard, however, will remain.

During a winter storm and power outage, you ignore the pleas of your shivering spouse and place your last quilt around that 1886 photograph of dear Uncle George.

"A Loving Family" and "Financial Security" have moved up to second and third, respectively, on your list of life's goals, but still lag far behind "Owning My Own Microfilm Reader."

The grass is so long that you can no longer find the garden furniture.
A magical genie appears and agrees to grant your any one wish, and you ask that the 1940 census be released early.

I trace my family history so I will know who to blame.

I used to have a life, then I started doing genealogy.

You know you're a genealogist when:

When your kids groan if you slow down near a cemetery.

When your favorite pastime is hanging around cemeteries.

When Santa Claus asks you what you want for Christmas and you give him a list of Death Certificates.