& LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS
FOR BEGINNERS IN GENEALOGY
1. Begin with
It is important, right at the beginning, to
learn all about your immediate family. Gather family documents (bibles,
letters, etc). Verify birth, marriage and death dates and places. Get the
names and addresses of older relatives. Keep careful and detailed notes, date
them and be sure to include where you found your information.
the older members of your family
Word-of-mouth is still a major source of
information. Make a list of questions that you want to ask, perhaps taking a
photo album or family heirloom to prompt memories. Consider using a tape
recorder or video camera in addition to pen and paper. Use your list of
questions as an ice-breaker or guideline. By encouraging your relatives, they
may provide other information that you had not thought to ask about. Try not
to interrupt their tales too many times. Learn to recognize clues (especially
names, dates and places) and follow up on them later.
3. Verify the
Verify the information that you have gathered
from family sources through courthouse and other records.
4. Visit your
Ask if there is a special section set aside
for local history and genealogy. See if there are copies of print resources
written especially for genealogists and for genealogists researching special
topics. Check to see what special files and indexes and collections have been
developed (newspaper clippings, obituaries, microfilm, city directories, etc.).
Ask about any local, regional and state genealogy and historical societies.
Attend any classes offered. Become acquainted with genealogical information
offered through the library’s public computer services.
5. Visit the
local courthouse in the area you are researching
Unfortunately, the clerks there may be unable
to spend time with you. They will, however, direct you to the location of
county records. Information on deeds, mortgages, marriages, divorces, civil and
criminal court cases, records of wills and settlements of estates (and much
more) can be found at the courthouse. Transcriptions of some of these records
may be available on the Internet.
6. Visit the
courthouse and library in the home county of your ancestors.
If you cannot visit areas your ancestors
called home, consider joining a society and/or finding a researcher in those
areas. Check the library for organizations and addresses.
Correspondence is often the only way to obtain
information at a distance. Be brief. Be specific. ALWAYS enclose a
SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE in EVERY letter you expect to have answered.
When writing to libraries and courthouses, expect to pay a fee, either for
photocopies or for records. At times, a fee will need to be paid before a
record can be sent.
8. Date and
Date and record what you have learned,
indicating the source of each fact. Note not only a description of the work
itself, but also the location within the resource that contained the information
you copied. Consider copying the title page or cover. Also note the owner of
the resource, in case you want to consult in again. Develop a filing system for
yourself in order to easily locate specific pieces of information as your
9. Completing a
Researching a family history is an interesting
hobby that may take many years of research at much expanse. Recent Internet
resources can save much time and money. But whatever your investment, you may
want to have your family history copied or printed to preserve it for your
children and future generations. Making many copies will also be a safeguard
against all your work being lost should anything happen to you or your notes.
information about Lake County records:
RECORDS, CEMETERY RECORDS, CENSUS
ENUMERATIONS, CHURCH RECORDS, CITY
DIRECTORIES, DEATH RECORDS,
HIGH SCHOOL AND
COLLEGE YEARBOOKS, MAPS AND ATLASES,
MILITARY RECORDS, NATURALIZATION,
PROBATE AND WILLS and
Lake County Genealogical Society
Lake County OHGenWeb page
Page last updated 20 MARCH 2013.
/ From a handout prepared by the Morley Library Genealogy staffperson in