Getting the info you need
with Paper Documents
Locate your ancestors with documentary evidence found in libraries, repositories, archives, provincial and federal databases.
How to Start Your Family History
Whether you are compiling your own family history or hiring a professional, the purpose and steps to follow are basically the same. This site was not intended as a tutorial or do–it–yourself but to offer a little nudge. I highly recommend a book for newcomers (and don't let the name fool you), with all the bells and whistles of modern internet research by Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG, and Kay Germain Ingalls, CG, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy Third Edition (New York, NY: Alpha Books, Penguin Group, 2012).
Step # 1 Start With Yourself
The most recommended choice in undertaking this quest is to always start with what you know. Even if great-grandma told stories of a famous person in the family from 8 generations back, always start with yourself and work back in time.
Step # 2 Make a Research Plan
Traditional methodology is still the best method to an accurate and successful family history. Research is an on-going process, so take your time and have fun! Your ancestors are patient. The possibilities are endless... with 1024 direct ancestors in 10 generations.
Step # 3 Keep Organized
It may seem like an obvious step but organization is beneficial to staying on task. When you're hot on the trail, it's amazing how much paper can pile up and be pushed aside. Stacks of paperwork can be daunting — so do yourself a favor and record your sources and citations on a schedule that suits your purpose.
Our ancestors were people that made many sacrifices so we could be here today. By acknowledging their triumphs and defeats, we bring a family history together. A genealogist becomes a student of history, geography, economics and sociology. The paper trail with which your ancestors have left behind is what every genealogist looks for to piece together a family history.
When a genealogical problem needs to be answered, the researcher must analyze the information provided and develop a research plan. The internet is an excellent and easy method to find documents but unfortunately, only a mere fraction of genealogical documents are digitized and available on the web. Most documents need to be viewed in libraries, archives and repositories or copies of inter-library loan material needs to be requested. Hiring a professional genealogist can make these searches much easier.