Welcome Friends! It is our solemn hope that we may assist our loyal patrons in their efforts to locate those elusive relatives. These excellent websites are designed to help find answers to your questions concerning your family history. Please be sure to check out the many exciting projects we offer to aid in the quest to document the heritage of your ancestors.
Researching your heritage is truly a blessed endeavor and a labor of
love. More then just identifying lineage, digging up public records can
blossom into a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, a sweet and keen
understanding of previously unknown origins, and a fun activity which may become more
then just a hobby.
When one first sits down and decide to start, the most important thing to
do is to interview all the elders, listen to their stories, and transcribe what
They have the knowledge of things past,
have lived through good times and endured hardships unknown to us,
experiencing circumstances and events that have indeed shaped our
When beginning, please be sure to have a list of questions with
which to start. This may not only keep your objectives on track,
but more importantly, serve as a springboard for thoughts and
discussions, possibly stirring a recall of faint memories from older
members which may later prove to be the keys needed to put the pieces
Consider doing a video of the visit, if everyone is
comfortable. This allows for a confirmation of facts,
and also would be a wonderful keepsake of a special time that may be treasured in the future.
The list of things to chat about is endless, but some areas to inquire
about should include: how they arrived, occupations, places of
residence and any documents that they might have or know about.
Type up a list of inquiries, leaving room for their replies,
and make multiple copies of the list to use for each person
that is interviewed. Be sure to allow blank space at the bottom to note
additional facts that arise during the discussion! And for filing
purposes, it is wise to allow space at the top to identify the
branch and individual's name, as well as the date of the meeting.
Scrapbooks that can be bought at a dollar store are great for jotting down
additional facts, but be sure to use a separate one for each branch!
While computers and the internet can most likely be the primary
working tools, don't overlook the creation of a good, simple filing
system. Allow a cabinet drawer (or more!) or portable storage boxes to
help keep all your items in order, as well as folders (color coordinate for easy reference).
Also consider how you are going to store photos: handle them with the
utmost of care, many are irreplaceable and the finger oils
can damage them permanently. Scan at the highest resolution possible, to capture as many fine details as possible; they can always be resized smaller for sharing via e-mail or uploading.
Be sure to do a "Save-As", creating a
duplicate image, and the original, high definition original will remain
safe and untouched. Actual photos should be stored safely - away from heat and light and
within proper non-acid paper.
Match the pertinent data from the visits with
geographic locales and determine what is available for that
area. Possibily the federal or state archives or the
court house may often have what is needed, storing years of taxes,
deeds, adoptions and other legal papers. Perhaps the local
cemetery holds the key. Often times, everyone was buried from the
same funeral home, and some proprietors are able to help in this
area. What house of worship was attended? Is there a church or
synagogue that should be contacted? For areas where certain
industries prevailed, such as mining in central Pennsylvania, review publications
that reported accidents and issued monthly
or annual reports.
Every location is unique - determine what is now available, and go from there. As time
goes on, more and more information will be placed on the web - everyday, kind
volunteers to archival businesses are scanning old publications
and directories, and putting them into repositories.
Once you have identified the places to contact, and
know what is needed to get, throw the bread upon the water via letter, call or e-mail and anticipate the
results with delight!
You may or may not get what was hoped for, but often times an unexpected surprise delivers a
challenging twist to the findings, explaning something that has perplexed everyone for years but is
now unexpectedly resolved!
Be sure to create a standard method for capturing source data. Start with known
locations, identifying the material
with full descriptions and citations, authors, publishers, dates, volumes,
etc., so you can find them again when necessary!
Once you begin to color in the details of this work, consider a software program to organize and store data. Not only can all the facts be nicely assembled, pictures can be stored, along with graphics of the crests relating to heraldry
and many other types of info. Most create their own type of charts of relations, so make this a top consideration when reviewing available packages for purchase.
We invite you to begin the journey, and enjoy something very
special, unlike anything else ever experienced. More then just
a fun hobby, when all the results are woven together, there is
a rich tapestry of precious information that may be enjoyed forever.
Please be sure to browse through our pages and use these tools to
begin the journey, and may God bless you!