As I mentioned recently, I've been bitten by the genealogy bug and have spent the last five or six years researching and logging over 6000 of ancestors and their statistics into my family file. Several of you asked for tips on how to get started. There is such a wealth of information available online today, formerly only accessible from county courthouses and libraries.
If I could choose just one site, it would have to be Ancestry. Thousands of searchable databases are readily available; census, old newspapers, social security death records, state records and thousands of personal family genealogical files, just to name a few. It is a little pricey, but compared to traveling to specific locations to research, it is a great deal. You can purchase an annual subscription, which is the most economical, or you can pay for access for just three months. Some other great sites are Find a Grave, Rootsweb, (Ancestry's free site) and the Bureau of Land Management. Also, many states now have searchable archive databases online.
Don't be afraid to get into Rootsweb and some of the other sites and leave stats for the ancestors you are searching for on their bulletin boards. Many times other distant cousins are looking for the same family. I connected with several unknown cousins this way and plugged into a wealth of family info and the priceless pleasure of their friendship.
Another valuable and worthwhile avenue is The National Archives. Military service records and pension files are available to purchase. I paid around $40 for WT's great-great grandfather's complete Civil War file. I was absolutely thrilled when they mailed a packet of photo copies of over 80 pages; a treasure trove of info
and well worth the investment.
WT has participated in his family surname DNA project, through Family Tree DNA. After requesting a packet, swab the inside of your cheek and mail it in. When the testing is complete, you are
linked with others with matching DNA . It's another wonderful way to trace your lineage and connect with other descendants.
I use Family Tree Maker genealogy software available to purchase from Ancestry. It has lots of great features, simple to install and very user friendly. So, hey hey, there you have it, my bloggy friends. Hope this gives you a little helpful info if you're interested in researching and documenting your roots. Let me warn you, it's very addictive, but persistence does pay off. Happy hunting!
By the way, the above photo is the oldest in my personal family collection. It is a tin type, self portrait of my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Lorenzo Dow Hanna, county surveyor for Howard County, Indiana in the 1860's. On the back of the tin type, is written in pencil, "executed by J. Hanna, artist". I come from a long line of photographers, so it's definitely in my blood. My camera is broken and I'm about to jump out of my skin without it!