• It is important to research the whole family & the community
  • Obtain a good map of the area
  • Ask yourself what you know, make a list
  • Ask yourself what you don’t know, write it down
  • What is it you want to know? Organize a check list
  • Use the free genealogy forms and charts
  • Document where, who and when you located a record
  • Develop timelines for your ancestor (what else was going on during that time)
  • Develop a Research Plan to guide your research (goals, etc)
  • Maintain a log of what you are doing
  • Using family group sheets-complete for head of household (HOH) and spouse
  • Learn about what sources are online (paid subscriptions and free)
  • Learn what resources are available in the area & where to obtain records
  • If researching African or Native Americans, familiar yourself with the laws that were in place regarding records & people of color
  • Decide what method of record keeping you will use: binders, folders, databases, etc.
  • Be consistent in your recordkeeping: naming files and how stored
  • Select a backup system to maintain files, photos, etc.
  • Download 18 Simple Steps to Becoming a Genealogist by Lisa A. Alzo: on
  • Talk to your librarian, visit repositories
  • State, county or city land & records, tax office
  • Meet with a local historian & librarian
  • Locate & Join local genealogy groups, historical societies, family history centers
  • Read the genealogy blogs, listen to webcasts and webinars
  • —Challenges- start asking questions & keep going, remember the basics of getting started, you have not exhausted all resources
  • Stay positive, be patient with yourself & have fun!










Why are you doing Genealogy Research?



Ancestor: First Name ______________ Middle ___________ Surname _____________


Write down three things you know about your ancestor




Write down people that knew your ancestor




Who knows what you need to know (vital statistic records, public records, census location, etc.)






About familytreegirl

Shelley Murphy, aka “familytreegirl”, a native of Michigan residing in Central Virginia, Shelley has been an avid genealogist for over 25+ years researching the Davis, Marsh, Goens/Goins/Goings, Roper, Boyer, Worden, Cureton, and Murphy family lines. She is a Coordinator and faculty for the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), presents Genealogy 101 workshops at the local community college, state and national genealogy conferences. She holds a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and works as an adjunct professor for Averett University. Murphy is known for her inspiring and interactive “Getting Started” Methods and Strategies for genealogy research, “Time and File management” along with interesting problem-solving methodology lectures. Shelley currently has 20+ publications with Charlottesville Genealogy Examiner and the Central Virginia Heritage, a publication of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association. She is an instructor for the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI). Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Adjunct Professor, Professional Genealogist. Volunteers for American Red Cross as a Disaster Services Instructor, facilitates financial education workshops for the last 8 years, and former licensed Real Estate Broker
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