#1. Talk to your parents,
A. find out where they grew up,(town, county, state)
B. birth & death dates of both their mother and father
C. Your parents marriage date and location of marriage(might see if they have a copy)
D. Ask them about where their parents, or grandparents are buried(locations, cemeteries name, county, state)
E. Ask if there are any of your Aunts, Uncles or other relatives have previously done any genealogy research.
F. Find out who is their oldest living relatives(then make plans to visit them and record your conversation with them)
1. Ask questions about what they know about the family
2. Ask where relatives are buried
3. Ask if they know any dates for birth , death, and marriage
4. Ask if they know any stories about the family
5. Ask if they know any other living relatives(visit them and do the same thing with them)
G. Search the internet for the surnames that you have found(mothers maiden name, grandmothers maiden name, etc) This will possibly find others doing research on the same lines of genealogy you are wanting.
H. Your local library should be able to point you in the right direction to research areas that you have found from your interviews and census records.
I. U.S. Government Federal records center have all census records from 1790-1920 These can be searched for grandparents and grt grandparents.(also SS records exist after 1935 that can be sent for) Also several local libraries have these microfilms.
J. Find if any of your relatives were in any wars, a lot of information is available at the Federal Government level(National Archives) to send for their records for a small charge.
K. Visit cemeteries that your relatives are buried, some good information is sometimes on the gravestones(birth death)
L. Visit the Everton Genealogy Web page and signup for a subscription to the Genealogical Helper magazine(you can submit queries and search for others doing the same) Sometimes your local library will have copies of this book the you can look at if you can't afford to get the subscription.
M. Send for copies of Birth, death, and marriage records for those relatives you know or find(they usually have names of mother and father, etc)
N. Gather pictures of older relatives while making your visits.(if distance prevents the visit write letters or call, remember record them)
O. Visit your local LDS church, most have a library that you can send to Salt Lake and have microfilm sent back to the church for you to view. These records are extensive and probably the best available.
P. Take a course in searching your relatives from your local library or historical society(usually every state or county has one)
Q. You can hire a professional genealogist, before doing this make sure that you have good references from others that are familiar with this persons work.(I have done this when searching in an area that I am not familiar with and know that the researcher can gain access to records that I would spend many hours looking for)
R. Join your local Genealogy or Historical Society, State Societies can also be a lot of help in your research.
S. Visit the internet GenWeb Project for your area. You can search the internet for their web sites, usually have good hints for searching in that area.
T. Visit Used books stores looking for genealogical books, you will be surprised to find some great older books that have "how to" information in them.
U. YOU need to dedicate yourself to doing this. That means spend the time do all the steps and you will start gathering information.
V. Save the information in an orderly way as to preserve the information you have gathered(future generations will appreciate it and you will to when searching for information quickly) I use plastic sheet protectors on all of my documents (keeping dirty fingers off of them)
W. Search the internet phone directories and email directories, drop these folk a note asking about your family with direct, not general questions. You will be surprised by receiving good area to search or names of others doing research.
X. Take a camera with you and take pictures of those pictures that others won't let you have. Even if you just want to run down the street to have a copy made most people will NOT let you leave with their original pictures.(don't be upset about this, just think if it was some stranger coming to your door wanting to "borrow" your treasured pictures for a few minutes. Would you??)
Y. Let the other members of your family know that you are doing genealogy research on your family and ask for any old pictures they have, here again you may be stuck with taking a picture of their picture for reasons mentioned above.
Z. Be considerate of others and their privacy, record and views. You are asking for help treat them with all the respect that you would also want. You will find some have information, but are unwilling to share it with you. Try to find out why there is this feeling and do your best to set their minds at rest.