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Main Page | Getting Started | Intermediate Genealogy | Advanced Genealogy | Tools of the Trade | Crafts & Activities

Digging Up your roots

-Getting Started-


Before you begin there are a few supplies you will need. 

Step #1 - Where to begin?

The first step begins with you.  Using your Ancestor Chart, fill in the information on yourself under #1, then for your father #2 and mother #3.  Continue to fill in as many names as possible and include as much information as you can.  Your fathers parents (paternal) will be numbered 4(grandfather), 5(grandmother); your mothers parents (maternal) will be numbered 6(grandfather), 7(grandmother).   Each number will go in sequence, doubling with each generation.  Example: #8's father will be #16 See pedigree numbering example


Step #2 - Family Group Sheets

Next begin your first Family Group Sheet.  Number your first group sheet #1.  On this sheet fill in the information for your father, mother, yourself and any siblings. Your second family group sheet will be for your paternal  grandparents (father's parents).  This sheet will be numbered the same as your paternal grandfather on your ancestor chart.  Your 3rd family group sheet will be for your maternal grandparents (mother's parents) .  Following the same numbering system, this sheet will be numbered the same as your maternal grandfather #6.


 With these basic steps done, it is now time to move on to the next level.


Intermediate Genealogy


Now that you have gotten the basics down it's time to roll up your sleeves and begin the big hunt!  To do this you will need to begin interviewing your family members and tracking down those all important documents. 


Interviews: Read Snail Mail and Genealogy

         The following is a list of questions to help get you startedAfter going over the basic questions you may want to ask about any family stories they might know.  You can also take this time to ask about traditions their family had and any other information they may be willing to share.


Scavenger Hunt:

For the questions you haven't been able to locate answers for, it's time to go on a scavenger hunt!  Many of these answers are hiding in places like family Bibles, journals, diaries, baby books, old photo's, old documents, letters and the like.  Ask your parents and other relatives if they have any of these.  As you find the missing pieces be sure and make a note on where the information came from. You will need this for future reference. 


Research Log:

This is also a good time to begin your research log.  You will need to start a page in your notebook for this.  Each entry should be recorded separately.  When reviewing your log you will know at a glance what you have done.  Each time you conduct an interview, make an entry in your log showing the details.  This should include:

Your Research Log will also be the place to enter information for any records you have researched.

A record of all correspondence will need to be recorded as well.  This should include:


Advanced Genealogy


In this section you will learn about a few of the sources that are available to continue your research and where to locate them.  Also, the most important thing you do while researching - documenting your sources. 

Records to Research


A sampling of just a few of the many records available!


Census: One of the most used tools in genealogy

Vitals: Registration of Births and Deaths

Marriage Records: 

School Census:

Estate Records:

Court Cases - Civil and Criminal Cases:


Where to locate Records!!


Public Libraries: Many public libraries now have a genealogy section.  Most, also have internet service for their patrons which includes access to Heritage Quest Online, which offers access to the U. S. Census.  Many libraries also offer some of the other widely sites such as  Some libraries, like the Lexington Public Library, have Kentucky Death Certificates 1911-1953 on microfilm, from which you can obtain copies.  Check with your local library to see what services they have available.


Courthouses:  If you are fortunate and live in or near the courthouse in the county where your ancestors lived, a wealth of information is undoubtedly awaiting you.  There you will find, marriages, estate records, deeds and much more.  If you are unable to visit the courthouse in the county of your interest, you can contact the clerk's office and ask what the procedure is for making request for copies of records.


If you are unable to make a trip to the courthouse, or if you are interested in records from more than one county, a good place to visit is the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.  See below for more detailed information.


Kentucky State Agency Resources


        The KYGenWeb is a group of volunteers who coordinate county websites and special projects which supply

       free genealogy resources.


Rootsweb offers free genealogy resources.  These consist of user submitted data, family websites, message boards

        and more.  The message boards are a great place to get help from other genealogist.  There are message boards for

        specific counties, states, surnames and special interest.


Documenting your Sources

The proof of it all!


Sources are the records where you found your information.   Citing these sources is extremely important.  Sources are the verification needed for each fact that has been added to your family history.  They are valuable to both you and others, who you may share your work with.  Even if you do not have any intentions to share your family history, it is still important to cite your sources.  For you, it is a way you can see what sources you have already used.  You never know when you may need to review a source for a hidden clue or additional information.  By citing your source, the information on where the information was located is readily available.   For others, it gives them confidence in the work you have done by supplying the evidence that verifies it. 


How to Cite your Sources!


Citing your sources can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it.  The main goal is to provide enough information so you, or anyone else, would be able to find it.  Different types of records will need to be recorded differently, so you will need to alter each citation for the type of record it pertains to.   The following are a few examples of some basic citations that you might use.  For a more detailed look at how to cite your sources see "How to Cite Sources" at



  • Title

  • Author

  • Publisher

  • Date of Publication

  • Page Number

  • Year
  • County and State
  • Township/Post Office
  • District Number
  • Family and Dwelling Number
  • Head of Household's Name
  • Page Number
Vital Records
  • Type of Vital Record - Death Certificate/Birth Certificate/ Marriage Certificate
  • Name(s) of Individual
  • File Numbers (in KY this generally includes a volume and certificate number)


Online Resources


The KYGenWeb consist of a group of volunteers that work together to provide free genealogical help and information for each county in Kentucky.   Each county has it's own website, archives of contributed data, message board and mailing list. 

Family Search

Free access to the 1880 U. S. Census.

Kentucky Death Index

Searchable deaths from 1911 - 2000 (Free)

Kentucky Marriage Index

Searchable marriages from 1973 - 2000 (Free)

Social Security Death Index

Searchable (Free)


Main Page | Getting Started | Intermediate Genealogy | Advanced Genealogy | Tools of the Trade | Crafts & Activities


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