Getting Started in Genealogy & Local History

How to Start Searching for Your Family

  • Start with yourself and work your way back.
  • Write down everything you know already - names, dates, places, etc
  • Ask family members for information.
  • Look for any papers or other sources you may already have: marriage/birth certificates, obituaries, family bible, etc.
  • Once you know where your family came from, you have a starting place to look for more information.
  • Contact libraries, courthouse, genealogical societies, etc to search for family information. 
  • Search the Internet for more information, contact fellow researchers, learn more about the areas your family came from.
  • Forms are available that will allow you to keep track of your findings.  These forms can be found in books, online or in the local history room at the library.
  • You may wish to hire a professional genealogist.  A list of certified genealogical researchers can be obtained from: The Board for Certification of Genealogists, PO Box 14291 , Washington , D.C.   20044


This is just the start of your search.  Many books are available at the library that can help you get started on your family history.  A few titles are:

Family History 101 by Marcia Melnyk

First Steps in Genealogy by Desmond Allen

Genealogy for the First Time by Laura Best  

Organizing Your Family History Search  by Sharon Carmack  

Unpuzzling Your Past by Emily Croom