Family Tree Researching: Tips for Compiling an Accurate and Complete Family Tree




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Family Tree Researching

Tips for Compiling an Accurate and Complete Family Tree

Creating a detailed and complete family tree can be a great deal of fun, and it can make a great family project for the kids as well. Problems can arise, however, when the facts donít seem to line up. Over the years, first names and even last names of spouses and other relatives can become muddled and confused, and it can be difficult to determine where the truth really lies. When this happens, it is helpful to take a step back and look at some techniques that can be used to sort it all out.

It is important not to become discouraged when you run into these obstacles. Instead, treat each hurdle as a new learning opportunity, and a chance to grow the knowledge of your family. Take the time to carefully document each piece of research, including the names you are researching, the time, date and location of each interview you conduct, as well as the name of the people being interviewed. These notes can be a big help down the road.

It is also important to record notes next to each piece of documentation you collect. When you find a copy of a birth certificate, for instance, that document can be used to verify the full name of the individual, the date and location of birth, and the name of the parents.

The details of each document should be recorded as quickly as possible, while all the details are still fresh in your mind. Getting everything down in writing as quickly as possible is essential to properly researching a family tree. If you are working with a computer program to create your family tree, make sure that the program allows you to create these detailed notes and citations, and that it allows you to completely record any pertinent facts as you work.

How you handle paper documents is just as essential, of course, and all documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, church records, newspaper articles and the like should be carefully filed by surname. Each item should be carefully cross referenced and numbered for easy reference in the future. Many family tree researchers find it helpful to set up a little library containing the resource material that they use. This library will provide a convenient central resource for this vital information.

Carefully marking each of the citations and each of the documents you collect is one of the best ways to make sure the information you have gathered is accurate, complete and correct. If any discrepancies do occur, having this documentation easily at hand will make it much easier to determine which facts are correct. In addition, having the dates, times and locations of all interviews at hand will allow you to more easily retrace your steps to find the real deal on your family and its long history.

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