Genealogy For Beginners: What Next?

In Genealogy for Beginners: Getting Started I talked about using your living family as a resource for gathering preliminary information about your ancestors….So you’ve spent several spare Saturday afternoons enjoying and talking with various family about past relatives, have compiled hours of recordings, books full of notes and images and are now wondering what kind of mess you’ve gotten yourself into…you are off to a fantastic start!

For me, the immediate next step would be to organize the data and extract the details into a preliminary chart so that you know what you’ve got and can better understand what you need to look for next.  Of course, you should use whatever method of organization that works best for you.  For me, I find that separating it out by interview/ day works best.  I’ve labelled all of my tapes, dated all of my notes, etc and when I get home I’m going to spend a couple hours going over the data and putting the pertinent info into a preliminary chart of some sort.

There are a few different ways you can chart your preliminary data.  You could do a timeline or a chronological outline or just drop the data into a bracketed family tree type chart.  There are resources online to help you create a timeline digitally, which can be saved and altered and updated, etc…some are free, some have a price. I personally like to use Excel spreadsheets because they’re free and I already know how to use them- but whatever is easiest for you is perfect for the job.   Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget that even though you have some data, it will also need to be corroborated by record. 

Free Printable Family Charts

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