The African American Genealogy Group of the Miami Valley
The African American Genealogy
Group of the Miami Valley
Promoting African-American Genealogy and Black Family History
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1.  
Genealogy is the search for our ancestors. Family history is the study of the lives they led. A true picture of the family is the result..........
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
2.  
Start with yourself. Document everything you know about yourself. Include your spouse, children, grandchildren, etc. Include occupations, where you lived and all important events in your life. Then, and only then, start working backwards with your living relatives.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
3.  
Make a list of all living relatives after you complete your personal genealogy. Interview each of them. Be prepared with a list of questions. Use a tape recorder for the answers or take very good notes. Respect the person’s privacy, but do not delay; relatives have a nasty habit of dying before being interviewed.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
4.  
Remember that each generation doubles the number of ancestors. It's easy to get lost if you don't plan ahead for your trip. Focus on one or two families. The others will still be there when you get to them.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
5.  
Female lines are as important as male lines. One-half of your ancestors are female! They can be more difficult to locate since most changed their names when married.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
6.  
Remember to document everything you find on your ancestors. Undocumented genealogy is mythology!
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
7.  
Meaningful genealogy requires thought. Develop a research plan and set goals. Why am I doing genealogy? How far back do I want to go? For example, go back 4 generations, or go back to the immigrant ancestor, or even to just do my father’s male line, etc.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
8.  
To find a birth date from a death date, subtract the age in years, months and days from the date of death. This is a very close approximation.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
9.  
Know your relationships: An ancestor is a person from whom you are descended. A descendant is a person who is descended from an ancestor. A relative is someone with whom you share a common ancestor but who is not in your direct line.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
10.  
Always record females using their maiden names.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
11.  
A person who dies "intestate" dies without a valid will.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
12.  
There is genealogy beyond the internet! While the internet is one very convenient tool, it is not the only tool. Check out online library catalogs, then visit the library to access the book or request an interlibrary loan.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
13.  
By the time you have collected data on a couple hundred of your relatives, you will realize that genealogy software would make keeping track of relationships within your tree, filing data about individuals, and generating reports much easier. Compare genealogy software package features before selecting the software best for you.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
14.  
The Family Group Sheet identifies a couple and their children. Everyone with a spouse or child has two group sheets – on as a child with parents and usually one as a parent with children.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
15.  
The Pedigree Chart, or Ancestor Chart, is a map from you to your ancestors. Begin with yourself. Females always use their maiden names.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
16.  
Surnames began about the 11th century. They developed as trade increased. The four basic groups of surnames are the patronymic (based on the father’s name), landscape features or place names, action or nicknames, and occupational or office names.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
17.  
When it comes to spelling variations, be creative. Often clerks and government officials were unable to correctly record the names given them by unschooled immigrants not familiar with languages used in their port of entry. The surname was written down as the official heard it and the immigrant accepted that as the official American rendering of his name.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
18.  
Develop a timeline. A time line begins with your ancestor’s birth and is filled in with various events in his life. Continue to fill this in as information becomes available to provide a picture of your ancestor’s life. Several of the genealogy software programs assist you with this.
[Located in Category: Basic Genealogy]
19.  
Remember to document everything you find on your ancestors. Undocumented genealogy is mythology. Most genealogy software will get you through the basics, There are several very good books on the subject of "Citing Your Documentation"
[Located in Category: Documentation/Evidence/Sources]
20.  
The Research Log is very important for the time when you share you data or decide to publish your work. You will need to know your sources for obtaining each piece of information. Be VERY specific with your information quoting authors, titles, pages, publishers, etc.
[Located in Category: Documentation/Evidence/Sources]
21.  
Use a Correspondence Log for both regular and electronic correspondence. This includes the name and address of the person to whom you have written, what you requested, the date the request was sent, and a column for the outcome. Remembering every letter written is impossible. Follow up if you don’t get an answer within a month.
[Located in Category: Documentation/Evidence/Sources]
22.  
Primary evidence is personal testimony or a record created shortly after an event by a person with personal knowledge of the facts.
[Located in Category: Documentation/Evidence/Sources]
23.  
Secondary evidence is compiled from other sources written from memory long after the event has occurred.
[Located in Category: Documentation/Evidence/Sources]
24.  
Direct evidence speaks to the point in question. Indirect evidence gives facts from which you can come to a conclusion.
[Located in Category: Documentation/Evidence/Sources]
25.  
A census is an official counting of the population living in a given locality on a designated day set at intervals. The census places an ancestor in a specific place at a specific time.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
26.  
Begin with the latest census available and work backwards. Census records have been taken since 1790. Before 1790 you can use Tax Lists and other local lists that might have been compiled according to the state you are researching in.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
27.  
Federal Census records are available to the public 72 years after they are taken.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
28.  
The 1890 U.S. Census records were destroyed by fire on January 10, 1921.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
29.  
Don't assume that all children listed in the census belong to the wife listed. This may be a second wife and the children a combination of "his and hers."
[Located in Category: Census Records]
30.  
Don't assume that widow in earlier census records means her husband is deceased. It could mean that they were divorced.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
31.  
The U.S. Federal Census is taken every 10 years on a designated census day by an "enumerator" in a specific area called an enumeration district. The first census was done in 1790; there are no censuses before 1790.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
32.  
In addition to the census population count, there are a number of special censuses: Slave, Industry & Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mortality, Social Statistics, Union Veteran and Widow, Defective, Dependent and Delinquent.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
33.  
Prepare a census timeline before you begin. Review what you will find in the census you are searching. Work backwards from the most recent census. Expect spelling and age variations.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
34.  
When the head of the household is no longer listed, don’t assume he/she is dead. It’s possible that the former head of household is now living with one of the children.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
35.  
Be sure to look at several families before and after the family you are researching. These people are most likely the friends or family of your ancestor. Many lived in the same community very near each other.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
36.  
Digest everything that is recorded on the census, not just a name and a date.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
37.  
1790-1840 Censuses only list the head of the household, but don't overlook using them. They are helpful to place a family in specific locations at specific times.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
38.  
The 1840 Census asks about names and ages of Pensioners for Revolutionary or other Military Service.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
39.  
The 1850 census was the first census to give the name, sex, color, age, occupation and birthplace of each free member of the household.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
40.  
The 1880 census was the first to identify the relationship between the household member and the head of house.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
41.  
Only the 1900 census asks for the person's month and year of birth.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
42.  
The 1900 and 1910 censuses lists the number of years of marriage for each married household member.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
43.  
The 1900 and 1910 censuses lists the number of children that were born to each woman and how many were still living at the time of the census.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
44.  
Census Naturalization status codes: "Al" for alien, "Pa" for "first papers," and "Na" for naturalized.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
45.  
The 1910 census lists survivors of Union or Confederate army or naval service.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
46.  
The 1930 census marks Civil War veterans with the abbreviation "CW."
[Located in Category: Census Records]
47.  
The 1930 census lists military service in other wars: "Sp" for the Spanish-American War, "Phil" for the Philippine Insurrection, "Box" for the Boxer Rebellion, "Mex" for the Mexican Expedition, and "WW" for World War 1.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
48.  
The 1930 census lists the value of the property if owned, or the monthly rental if rented. This could lead to locating deeds, tax or mortgage records.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
49.  
The 1940 Census lists answers to several new questions never asked before including where they lived in 1935 and what was their income for the previous year.
[Located in Category: Census Records]
50.  
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC and its Regional Branches, is the principal repository for records relating to the US federal government. These include the original paper copies of the federal census, all pre-World War I military records, Native American records, military service and pension records, naturalization records, ship passenger lists, land-entry case files, and homestead and bounty land warrant records. NARA's website is the place to begin research for federal records.
[Located in Category: Federal Records]