Cournoyer Family Genealogy Website

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Tips for Beginners

Getting Started
A Beginners' Guide to Genealogy

The first thing you need to do in getting started searching your family tree is to talk to your family. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone who is willing to share with you.

Things you will want to ask:
1. when they were born and where
2. where did they grow up
3. when and where they were married
4. what were their parents names
5. when did their parents marry and where
6. where are their parents buried and when did they pass away (name of cemetery, city, state)
7. are there any other family members buried there or close by
8. who were their Aunts and Uncles
9. do they know when/where they were born, married, lived, buried
10. ask them who their oldest living relative is

It is important to ask about all the dates and places but don't forget to ask for the stories. What was Aunt Dell like? Why did the family leave Poland and travel to United States? These stories are fun to hear but are also a great wealth of information.
A camera is another must have tool. Many people will be more than happy to let you see their old pictures but reluctant to let you have them to make copies. If you have a camera, you can take photos of them and no one has to worry that the photo place will lose them.
Write everything down. That little piece of information you wrote down may just be the clue you need 6 months down the line. Date when and where you got your information.
Transfer all of this information onto family history or pedigree charts. You can begin grouping them into folders by family. It is important to do this as later when you have tons of info you will not have to spend hours looking for where you put a certain record. Organization is a good thing.
What next? Take the information you have and start looking for records. One of the first places you should start is with the census records. You will learn where your family lived and in what counties. Then you will take this information to search for other documents such as obituary notices, tax records, land records, wills etc. Each piece of information will add another piece to the puzzle. It is addictive and rewarding to learn about your family history. The search is half the fun!
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You are allowed to copy and print family trees & pictures if you are researching this line, but you must not profit from our work in any way or redistribute it without our consent.