Ancestors. We all have them. We all have about the same number of them. Why is it that some of us have found many of ours and others have found only a few?

Sometimes it is where and how you were raised. I have Revolutionary War ancestors buried almost literally in the backyard where I grew up. This is not uncommon on the East Coast. People came to this country and next moved more than a few miles from where they landed. I was raised in the Midwest but once my ancestors got there their traveling days were over.

My family was a large extended family and they knew their history, angels and scoundrels. I had first cousins and second cousins, first cousins once or twice removed — didn’t matter much. We were all related. I confess I was nearly 30 before I found out this was not the norm!

Sometimes it is the result of serious and dedicated research, hours spent looking over dusty documents in courthouses and archives. Sometimes it is a combination of both. There are those who went online and collected whole genealogies but they don’t really count.

I’ve been at this awhile. These are my thoughts, mostly random. Some you may already know. Some you didn’t until now. If it helps you in your search I’m happy.


  1. Write down all you know now. Start with yourself and work backwards.
  2. Include the source of every piece of information. Yes, it is a pain in the rear but someday you will be happy you listened and did it. Trust me. BTDTGTTS (been there, done that, got the tee-shirt)
  3. Minimum to include is birth, marriage, death, burial location, parents — same for your spouse and children. [I heard you say you aren’t dead yet.] You don’t know it all? There’s your first serious research, filling in the blanks you didn’t know.


I always assume that everyone knows about Cindi’s list. Even if you do perhaps you don’t realize it is a work in process and is constantly being updated and added to. It’s a massive site.

Karen Isaacson and Brian Leverich, the founders of Rootsweb, have put together pages of genealogy links at:

Both of these lists are worthy of checking regularly to see if there are any links you can use.

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