Here is a great article for family history buffs that I came across. It teaches new researcher just how to put the Family tree together in the right way. For the more experienced among us it may be a timely reminder!
Find Your Ancestors and Build Your Family Tree The Right Way
You get a little bug in your brain to find your ancestors, at least your grandparents and great grandparents. They might be easy to find right at home in the family Bible or in drawer that is set aside for important pictures and documents.
It is so exciting to find anything on your family and one find leads to another. You may leave home and search the clerk and recorder documents in the courthouse. There you may find marriage licenses and birth and death records. Stop right now and cite those sources.
Citing your sources means writing down the source that you used to find a certificate or document or even a phoned statement from your aunt about her sister. I know this is as exciting as watching snow melt. Get in the habit of documenting your sources right as soon as you start researching your ancestors.
As your adventure unwinds of finding your family, you will be amazed at the number of notes, sheets of paper, pictures, certificates and documents you will accumulate. If you don’t start right off writing down where you found all of those, you will end up with an awful mess.
Without documentation, your hard work will be useless. Some people think you just jump on the internet or visit the courthouse a few times and “voila” a family tree appears. You may spend hours, even years accumulating all the data necessary. If you haven’t written down the sources for all that data, your children, cousins, nieces or nephews, whoever is going to carry on that tree, will not know where to look for that information for their own satisfaction.
If your family has a common name, you may have recorded the wrong family. If you type that online or send it to a relative, that information will be replicated as truth. However, if you have a source for that data, your receiver will be able to check on the accuracy.
If you produce a quality genealogy, you will be able to go back to the original sources and find the facts. And, those facts should be proven. Many counties publish books about all the families in the county. If you use such material, you must cite the source and give credit to the folks who wrote the book.
Family tree software that is available for the computer will help you document your sources. I have to confess that I have now documented my sources in my online tree. I do know the sources, but have been too lazy to put them in. That would be a good New Year resolution.
I also have not kept track of all my research. That is dumb as it wastes valuable time as you look at the same web sites over and over. Or even make trips to the courthouse or wherever to look up the same people.
Quality genealogy and family trees are well worth the effort you put into them. They are priceless keepsakes for the family. Start off right and keep a research log and cite all your sources.
Elizabeth Larsen has researched her family tree for 35 years. For more information on beginning a good genealogy, good tips and good books to help you go to http://www.squidoo.com/basicgenealogy