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Genealogy Basics - Tips & Tutorials

Learn how to trace your family tree with these genealogy tips, lessons and step-by-step tutorials.
  1. Charts & Forms
  2. Internet Genealogy (8)

First Steps - How to Get Started With Your Family Tree
You have a little knowledge about your family history, a few old photos and a consuming curiosity. Follow these basic steps to get started on your family tree adventure.

10 First Steps for Finding Your Roots
You've decided to dig into your family history but aren't sure where to begin? These 10 basic steps will get you started on the fascinating journey into genealogy and your past.

Top 10 Genealogy Questions - Commonly Asked Questions About Family Tree Research
Interested in researching your family tree? Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked genealogy questions.

Top 10 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid
Almost everyone tracing their family tree has made one or more of these common mistakes. Learn how to side-step these traps yourself, with this guide to the top ten genealogy mistakes to avoid.

10 Steps for Finding Your Family Tree Online
Locating information on your family tree is easier than ever with thousands of new records being placed online daily. Learn how to tap the vast resources of the Internet to locate your ancestral roots with these ten simple steps.

House Histories
Whether you live in a Manhattan brownstone apartment or a castle in France, your home may be harboring a fascinating history. Learn how to uncover the history and genealogy of a house or other building with this step by step guide.

The Family History Library Catalog
Learn about many of the genealogical records available for the locations your ancestors lived with the Family History Library Catalog online.

Standards for Sound Genealogical Research
The National Genealogical Society offers advice and standards on the basics of seeking, using and documenting genealogical record sources, as well as common courtesies when communicating, sharing, or publishing genealogical findings.

How to Identify & Avoid Genealogy Scams
While reputable genealogy sites are quite prevalent online, there are unfortunately several Web sites on the Internet which make fraudulent claims or take your money in return for no results. Learn how to check out a genealogy Web site before you join or put down any money so that you won't get taken in by a genealogy scam.

Descriptive Pamphlets of the National Archives
National Archives' Descriptive Pamphlets, often referred to as DP's, are available for free online through the National Archives website. Learn how to locate and download these free, in-depth descriptions to National Archives published (e.g. microfilm) record collections.

Descriptive Pamphlets of the National Archives
National Archives' Descriptive Pamphlets, often referred to as DP's, are available for free online through the National Archives website. Learn how to locate and download these free, in-depth descriptions to National Archives published (e.g. microfilm) record collections.

Top 6 Genealogy Research in a Foreign Land
Most family historians will eventually reach a point where their genealogy research leads them "across the pond" or past a border. Many, unfortunately, abandon their research at this point, because they find the thought of genealogy research in a foreign country intimidating or overwhelming. Other than a few differences in type and availablilty of records, and a possible language barrier, however…

Reading and Understanding Old Documents & Records
Old documents and records present a challenge to genealogists, from old script, to archaic dates and terms, to old handwriting that seems downright impossible to read. Learn the tricks of the trade that genealogists use and need to read, understand and interpret older documents.


8 Ways to Avoid Barking Up the Wrong Family Tree
There is nothing more frustrating than finding out the ancestors you've been so diligently searching aren't really yours. Learn how to avoid wrong turns in your research with these simple steps.

Genealogy Research at the Courthouse, Archives or Library
Make your genealogy research trip to the courthouse, library or archives as productive as possible with these tips for planning your visit and maximizing your results.

Genealogy Research in a Foreign Country - Steps for Getting Started
Genealogy research in a foreign country doesn't need to be intimidating. These simple steps will help you get around the language and record barriers, and add a new generation or two to your family tree.

Genealogy by Mail - Tips for Gathering Genealogy Information and Documents
When you can't find it on the Internet, why not research by mail? Learn how to use postal mail to gather information and documents on your family without leaving home. Includes tips for corresponding with archives, what information to provide, where to find addresses, and suggestions for handling payment.

Cluster Genealogy - Branching Out on Your Family Tree
Researching the individuals connected to your direct ancestors -- whether siblings, neighbors, or friends -- can often lead to new clues.

Do Not Assume - Common Mistaken Assumptions in Genealogy Research
do not assume

Top 10 Genealogy Resolutions - Goals for Becoming a Better Genealogist
Make this the year that you do things right with these genealogy ideas tips and links for successful family history research, including getting organized, interviewing relatives and making time for family history research.

Including the "History" in Family History
Little details -- from your ancestor's hair color to their occupation, courting, and favorite foods -- are what make family history exciting, and can breathe new life into your genealogy research. Learn how to incorporate social history into your family history and put flesh on the bones of your ancestors.

Five Golden Rules for Growing Family Trees
Don't get so wrapped up in your genealogy hunt that you forget the basics. Make sure you're following these five golden rules for genealogy success!

Brick Wall Strategies for Finding Your Ancestors
brick wall strategies

Six Steps to Finding Your Roots Online
finding roots online

Think Like a Detective - Creating a Genealogy Research Plan
Steps to developing a genealogy research plan.

Five Steps to Verifying Online Genealogy Sources
verifying online genealogy sources

Armchair Genealogy - 10 Ways to Trace Your Family Tree from Home
Whether you're a weekend genealogist with little time, have physical or monetary constraints that make it hard to get out of the house, or are just a plain old homebody, it is getting much easier these days to research your family tree from the comfort of your armchair. Learn how with these 10 time-saving tips and techniques.

Genealogy Research in a New Locality
No matter how experienced a genealogist is in the records of a particular locality, time period or ethnic group, when genealogy research takes us to a new locality we are all novices. Perhaps not novice in genealogical methodology and best practices, but definitely a newbie when it comes to knowledge of available genealogical records,...

5 Family History Scams to Avoid
Learn to recognize and avoid the five most common genealogy scams, including phony inheritances, generic family histories, falsified credentials, "family" coats of arms, and confusing genealogy software and services.

Analyzing a Historical Document
Learn how to analyze the reliability of information contained in a historical or genealogical document in the context of the time and place in which it was created, considering the document's author/creator, purpose and provenance.

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