The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program

Computers and the Internet are an intrinsic part of Genealogy in this modern world of research. Both experienced researchers and genealogy newbies alike can always learn something new about their computers and the Internet. Beginner lessons on technology can help new researchers get a head start while experienced researchers can refresh their skills. One resourceful guide worthy of review is The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program, by renown author and professional genealogist Karen Clifford.

Clifford’s guide was updated from its original version just last year. In a rapidly changing world of technology keeping guides and tools up to date is a difficult task. Websites change, software is updated, and more resources are being made digitally available almost daily. Yet, this book offers something more than just up-to-date technical knowledge. Gifford’s guide also carries with it a permanence of methodology, research techniques, and critical thinking tools as relevant to technology today as they were ten years ago. Take your average genealogy database program. Today’s programs may be a bit more visually pleasing, offer more robust reporting options, and have the ability to post data straight to the Internet. Yet, at their core, they operate in exactly the same way they did upon their inception. The user types in carefully extracted family data and connects the individuals into family groups.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide similarly offers added websites, added tips and techniques, and other relevant updates. However, at its core it offers the same old, comprehensive, common-sense advice to research that it always has. This is the advice of an expert genealogist. The principles of success don’t change, but they do adapt. For this reason, even experienced genealogist may just glean a bit of useful information by reading these few chapters.

Order your own copy of The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $42.63.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Principles of Success for the Family Historian

  • Family History
  • The Research Cycle
    • Step 1: Set a Goal
    • Step 2: Decide Which Source to Use
    • Step 3: Locate the Source
    • Step 4: Search the Source
    • Step 5: copy the Information
    • Step 6: Evaluate the Information
    • Step 7: Use the Results
    • Step 8: Organize and Reorganize
  • Preassessment
  • Gather Family records
  • Conclusion: a Proven Formula
  • Assignment 1: Sorting Your Family Materials
  • Website

Chapter 2 Organizing Family Information

  • Before the Beginning There is Usually Chaos
  • The Pedigree Chart
  • The Family Group Records
  • Assignment 2: Filling in Charts and Forms
  • Website

Chapter 3 Becoming Acquainted with Your Genealogy Program

  • Entering Family Information
  • Exciting Feature of Good Genealogy Computer Programs
  • Assignment 3: entering Your Own Family Information
  • Website

Chapter 4 Why Document?

  • You’ll Want to Document Because
  • The Elements of a Complete Citation
  • Making Your Research More Effective
  • Transcribing and Abstracting
  • Genealogy Documentation Guidelines
  • A Guaranteed Guide for Excellent Documentation
  • Assignment 4: Filling Out Documentation Guideline Forms
  • Website

Chapter 5 Printing Your Records

  • Before you Print
  • Pedigree Charts
  • Family Group Records
  • Other Chart and Forms
  • Print Destination
  • Assignment 5: Printing Your Own Family Information
  • Websites

Chapter 6 Your Family History Notebook

  • Your Family History Notebook and Filing System
  • Pedigree Charts
  • Pedigree Chart Index
  • Alpha Index or Family Group Sorted List
  • Descendancy Chart
  • Family Group Records
  • Other Tabs
  • Assignment 6: Assembling Your Family History Notebook

Chapter 7 Developing a Sense of Our Ancestors’ Environment

  • Mapping Your Ancestors’ Lives
  • A Geographical Perspective
  • How to Use Maps Effectively in Your Research
  • A Chronological Perspective
  • Assignment 7: Organization of Historical Events
  • Websites

Chapter 8 Resolving Conflict

  • Resolving Conflict
  • Initial Techniques for Searching Sources
  • Tips for Effective Use of the Research Planner
  • Assignment 8: Resolving Conflict
  • Websites

Chapter 9 State Vital Record Offices, Public Libraries, Courthouses and Local Repositories

  • Armchair Genealogy
  • How to Search for Vital Records
  • Public Libraries
  • Courthouses
  • Historical Societies
  • Assignment 9: Determining the Best Repository
  • Websites

Chapter 10 Resources of the Family History Library

  • Using the Family History Library Catalog
  • Using the Results from the FHLC
  • Navigating
  • Navigating New FamilySearch
  • Assignment 10: Using the FHLC
  • Website

Chapter 11 Major Databases of the Family History Library

  • Family History Library Database Examples
  • Family History Library Database Examples
  • What is the IGI?
  • Limitations of the IGI
  • What is the Ancestral File?
  • Doing a Preliminary Survey
  • Correcting Errors in the Ancestral File
  • What is the Pedigree Resource File?
  • What is the Vital Record Index?
  • What is the Social Security Death Index?
  • What is the Scottish Old Parochial Index?
  • What is the Military Records Index?
  • What is the 1881 British Census Index?
  • What is the 1851 British Census Index?
  • More Indexes
  • What is the Historical Books Search?
  • What is the General Search Option?
  • What is New FamilySearch?
  • How to Share Using the Pedigree Resource File
  • Assignment 11: Search FHL Databases
  • Websites

Chapter 12 Using Local Family History Centers

  • Your Local Family History Center
  • Step-by-Step Gide to the FHC
  • Research Strategies in a Family History Center
  • Help for the Researcher
  • Self-help Resources
  • British Census Records
  • Assignment 12: Visit a Local Family History Center
  • Websites

Chapter 13: National Archives and Regional Records Services Facilities

  • Regional Records Services Facilities
  • Immigration Records
  • Military Records
  • Assignment 13: Using Records of the National Archives
  • Websites

Chapter 14 Census Records Between 1850 and 1930

  • General Guidelines
  • Research Aids
  • Other Indexes
  • Other Census Films
  • Assignment 14: Census Records
  • Website

Chapter 15 Analysis and Goal Setting

  • Organization
  • Determining What is Missing
  • Communications
  • Customs
  • Dialect
  • Naming Customs
  • Which Repository Can Solve This Problem?
  • Assignment 15: Make Plans Now for the Future
  • Websites

Chapter 16 Sharing Your Family History Research

  • Sharing
  • The Future
  • Assignment 16: Sharing Your Family History Research Notebook
  • Websites

Appendix A

The Internet and Genealogy

Appendix B

Genealogical Forms


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