Step 1: Gather Information
Step 1: Gather Information
-- Family stories, family records, legal documents, correspondence,
   photographs, newspaper clippings

See: Family and Home Information Sources Checklist
Step 2: Interview Relatives
  • Ask parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws
  • Prepare your questions in advance - know what information you want to get
  • Don't badger your informant with tons of questions. A little at a time works.
  • Explain why you wnat the inforamation and what you will do with it
  • Be understanding if they choose not to talk about a topic -- or not at all
Websites with some example questions:
20 Questions for Interview Relatives
Family History Questionnaire

50 Interview Questions for Family History Interviews
150 Questions to Ask Family Members about their Lives

Oral Histories
Step 3: Record the Information
Pedigree or Ancestral Chart
Names: Last name, First name Middle name
Dates: dd/mmm/yyyy  
e.g. 24 Jan 2017.
Use est.& abt if you are uncertain; bef or aft if date is before or after a known event
Places: Smallest locale to largest. e.g. Klamath Falls, Klamath, Oregon, USA

Family Group Sheet
Shows family unit details such as siblings, occupations, etc.

Websites with free forms:
Ancestry - Charts and Forms
CyndisList - Free Stuff - Charts and Forms
FamilyTree Magazine - Free Forms
FamilySearch - Genealogy Research Forms

Step 4: Perform a Focused Search
One family unit at a time
-- More success in researching
-- Gather as much information about the family as you can
One objective at a time
-- What do you want to learn? About whom?
-- Go from what you know to what you don't know
Keep track of where you've searched
-- Use a Research Log
Select records to search
-- How to Select a Record To Search
-- Choose a Record Type
Finding records
-- CyndisList
-- FamilySearch Wiki
Free databases
--  (Requires an account)
-- HeritageQuest (Requires a Klamath County Library card)
-- American Ancestors (Requires being at the Klamath County
-- FindaGrave / Billion Graves
Paid databases
You can access these through the Klamath Falls Family History Center
-- Ancestry, Fold3 (military), FindMyPast (England), Newspaper
   Archives, etc.

Step 5: Cite Your Sources!
Know where you found every piece of information -- even family stories
Elements: Author/creator of content; Title; Publication data;
                Place/URL; Date; Details (pages, etc.)

The recommended genealogy citation style is based on Chicago Style. The prime source of citation information is in:
Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills
Steps 6 and 7
Step 6: Organize and keep track of your research results.

Genealogy research generates a lot of paper and information. It's easy to forget what you've found, where you've found it, and whether the information was useful. Put your information in a family tree -- either on paper or online. File any papers -- whether in a manila folder, in Evernote, or something else. And ALWAYS make certain you're written down enough information to be able to find that paper or date again.

Step 7: Verify, then start again.

Professional genealogists follow the Genealogical Proof Standard when doing research. Though you don't have to go that far, be mindful of the type of record you find and its validity. Questions to ask:
  • Is this source original or derivative?
  • Was the information recorded soon after the event or much later?
  • Did the source creator have firsthand knowledge of the event or get the information from a another person?
  • Does this information answer the genealogical objective (i.e. is it relevant?
For more on this see: A Template for Evaluating Evidence