Finding New Ancestors & Cousins

One of the most satisfying aspects of Family History work is finding new family members through research efforts. Researching has become significantly easier with the help of multiple search services, "Record Hints", and such. So many different types of records are on-line now, such as Census Records, Military Draft Records, City Directories, Probates & Wills, birth, marriage, and death certificates, obituaries, and more.

Doing research is like putting a puzzle together. Try it with other family members. Feel free to explore the tips below. New information is added often, so please check back periodically.

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Instead of searching for "Green Temples", search for the "Blue Record Hints"

Reviewing Census Records Are the Quickest Way to Add New Individuals

Descendancy Research Is Another Way Of Finding Additional Names

Want To Learn More About Additional Research Tools?

Attaching Record Sources To The Individual

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The easiest way to begin finding ancestors is to just look for the little blue "Record Hint" icons. These are found associated with an individual on the pedigree, or when on that person's "Person Page", they can be found in the upper right column. In addition, when you first log into FamilySearch, the "dashboard" page has a section that lists record hints available.

US census records started listing the names of individuals in 1850, and by 1880 the relationships of the household as well. Every 10 years a new census was completed, that showed the composition of the family. New children will be added to the next census. Don't forget that children would die between census decades and so their names wouldn't be noted.

It is said that if you pick an ancestor back ten generations, they would have close to one million descendants. Many of us probably have those "Aunt Marys" in our family that traced our ancestral lines back to "Noah", or at least back into the 1500-1600s. These will be our "ANCESTRAL" lines. Around 2012 or so, an emphasis on finding all the collateral line descendants, our cousins, was introduced. This is called "Descendancy Research". If you were to pick an ancestor just four generations back (a great-great grandparent), there will SIXTEEN collateral descendant lines to research. Sorry…just when you thought that your family history was done! Actually, it is quite exciting to think that we can work on finding new people, AND during a time period when records are more easily found.

All of us have found a great source of information, only to later not remember what site or location it was found on. Learning to keep a simple paper or digital research log can be helpful to keep you organized.

For more information about these tools, click on the button below.


"Genealogy without sources is mythology"

Record sources are the birth, marriage, death, census, and other records that we find. They document basic facts about that individual, like what day they were born on, when they were married, etc. It is important to "attach" these sources to the individual(s) to actually document the facts that are entered. The following statement is often quoted.

Sources document that the individual actually lived. Just because Aunt Mabel told us that the information is true, doesn't mean it is, unless there are sources for the facts.