An introduction for Genealogy Beginners
Family History Forms
Family history forms and charts help to organize your family history work. They make visible the relationship between individuals, identify what you’ve found and what you still need, and make your research faster and more effective. There are a wide variety of different charts available but we’re sticking to the basics here.
FYI, the term ancestors refers to the people who came before you in your family. Ancestors can be direct (such as your mother and father, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on), or indirect (also known as collateral), such as cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.).
A basic for all genealogy research is the Family Group Sheet (FGS), which is used to keep track of data for a specific family, including birth, marriage, death, and children. It typically includes a place to note where you found each piece of information (a critical piece of information). If an individual has more than one spouse, there is usually one family group sheet for each family unit. Sheets are filed under the husband’s name.
Free family history forms are widely available to download; try your genealogy software program if you have one, Ancestry offers several basic forms for free, as does the FamilySearch wiki, or do an internet search. FYI, it can take a while to discover which form works best for you, so don’t be afraid to try several out to see what’s the best fit for you.
The following websites (along with many others) provide free genealogy forms and charts.
Ancestry charts and forms
Cyndi’s List – contains links to hundreds of general and specialized genealogy forms. Also, a great source for locating on-line sources for your research.
The language used in genealogy can be confusing. The following provides a genealogical dictionary.https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Genealogical_Terms
A common problem among genealogy newcomers is understanding the relationships between family members. It’s easy to understand aunts, uncles and siblings, but is Cousin Mary a first cousin once removed or a second cousin? The free on-line GenealogyInTime Magazine has a good article that explains how to define the relationship between any two people in a family, and includes a free relationship chart.
The Key to Understanding Family Relationships http://www.genealogyintime.com/articles/the-key-to-understanding-family-relationships-page1.html
Keep in mind that “official” records do not guarantee that details in that record are correct. Death certificates typically have the date and burial place correct, but birth and marriage information may easily be missing or incorrect. The accuracy of the record is dependent on the person who supplied that information. A son who provided information on his father may have no idea of exactly where his father was born or that he married twice before his marriage to his third wife, the mother of the son who provided the information. Many records are never verified with other sources.