This article gives examples of helpful charts that can save you time and repeated efforts in your search for your ancestors. There are several sites that will allow you to download blank copies for free to use on your own. You will find many websites with this information if you Google the different charts you are needing.
One of the most useful tools a beginner can start with is called a family group sheet. Family group sheets start with the parents names, their birth and death dates, and their marriage date. Locations show up beside the dates. The next section of a family group sheet lists each child, normally oldest to youngest, their birth and death dates, and the name of each ones spouse, marriage date and location. If a person has been married more than once, each spouse and corresponding marriage data will be listed. For each marriage, you must make up a new family group sheet, as one of the parents has changed.
An ancestral (or pedigree) chart is a more visual diagram of the family. It begins with one child through each preceding generation. The number of people doubles each time. For example begin with (1) Mary Smith; her parents (2) John Smith & Barbara Allen; her grandparents (4) James Smith & Lettie Brown and John Allen & Sarah White; her great-grandparents (8) Jerome Smith & Ludie Sumter, Terrence Brown & Sarah Edgemore, William Allen & Georgia Whitney, and Leonard White & Martha Henry. It will be as long or short as your information can continue it.
A correspondence sheet allows you to list anyone you have tried to contact, by email, snail-mail, message board, or telephone. You list the person’s name, their address/board, the date of initial contact, and hopefully the date they responded. This way you don’t waste time because you’ve forgotten who you have tried to connect with. It’s a handy little tool.
Next, a research calendar lets you know the places you have searched, when you searched, for whom you were searching, and what you found. A great tool to have so you don’t go over old ground.
Data worksheets have the same information as family group sheets plus, it lists several types of documents such as bible, census, or church records. You can check off what documentation you have found and who has the records if you don’t have them. It also lists whether you have copies, or certified copies, of these documents. You must have certified copies if you are trying to join a group like the Daughters of the American Revolution . Family historians don’t need to pay for certified copies if they are just interested in tracing their family tree.
The difference between a genealogist and a family historian is that the first went to school and became certified to trace “other peoples” family trees whereas a family historian doesn’t have the same type of education and is doing it either for pleasure or to track family genetics for medical purposes.
You can download blank census sheets to fill out by hand or save copies of the census found online to your computer. I personally use a shorthand notation in the notes section of my software.
Also, there are two ways to do a family tree. Descendants charts begin with the oldest ancestor you list and continues down each of his/her offspring to the youngest descendant in each line. Ahnentafel charts begin with the youngest person you list and is more of a straight line up the tree to the oldest known ancestor. The ahnentafel chart does not list all the descendant lines but, it can list the siblings of each ancestor per generation.
There is computer software out there to help you keep tract of all the information you have been able to obtain. You can also go to Free Genealogy Forms and Charts . It is a website that has many forms for you to download and use.
Now that you have learned about the different forms and charts, your research should be much easier to record and you won’t end up going over the same information again and again. Most importantly though, HAVE FUN!!!