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There's been a sudden interest in genealogy lately. Not only do die-hard researchers want to find their roots, but your average person wants to know where his or her family came from and what they were like. Starting such research can seem daunting to a beginner, but there are several resources right under your nose that start your research.


The first thing any genealogist does is sit down and write down everything he remembers about his family.
1. First, write down your information:
- full name and why that name was chosen
- date and place of birth; any stories you remember about your birth
- date and place of marriage, if applicable; add details like the name of the person who performed the ceremony and who was present
- your children, if applicable
- any other important dates, such as graduation(s), job(s), residence(s), and groups you've belonged to or awards you've won

2. Now, stay in your generation and list as much information that you remember about your siblings. If applicable, add death information.

3. Move back a generation and list all information about your parents and their siblings. Then list all cousins that you remember.

4. Move back another generation and list all the information about your grandparents and their siblings that you can remember. Again, list any of their children that you remember.

5. Continue until you can't remember even a rumor of a name or date. Now it's time for the next resource.


If you still live with your parents and/or siblings, ask each of them the same questions you just asked yourself. A tape recorder is suggested, as there may be stories you can't record as fast as they are remembered. If you don't live at home, call or write relatives.


Look through all the old papers you have around the house. Marriage records, birth and death certificates, social security cards or applications, letters, or even deeds to land and automobiles can be very revealing. Copy down any information you can find from each resource and be sure to document where you got the information so you can check back later if facts don't match.


Look at the old family photos. Who is the person standing next to your grandmother in that picture? Is it possible she had another brother you didn't know about? Where was that picture taken? Does the background reveal a desert, mountain, ocean, or flat prairie? Check the backs of each photo for information inscribed.


Look for the family Bible or another item, such as a journal, where births, marriages and deaths were recorded. Keep in mind that if all the information is in the exact same hand, it may not be quite as accurate, as it was probably all entered at the same time. Still, it will give you a hint of dates, places, and names.


Although this is the area where you'll get the least information, you can still find out a lot from a family heirloom. A watch made in Germany during World War II, passed down from father to son, may indicate that your family came from Germany around the 1940's. China service from Holland in the 1800's may give you another clue to where your family was at during a certain time period.


With the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, there are more genealogy resources for the average researcher than ever before. Enter "genealogy" into any search engine and you'll find plenty of places to start your research.


Although you can do a considerable amount of research without ever leaving your home, you'll eventually hit brick walls that will require outside research. By this point, however, you may have found out enough about your family that you're hooked and can't wait to find out more... all because you started with the resources right in your home.