The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step . . . How to begin your research.

Today I want to talk about how to start your genealogical research.  I’ve been researching for many years and people always ask me, “How do I start?”  The beginning of your research is such an exciting time. You have everything to learn and no bad research habits to break.

A few things you need to have.

An Ancestral Chart.   Follow this link for a chart.   http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/charts-forms/

Either Pen & Paper or a Computer/Laptop.

Willingness to be organized.

When beginning your genealogical research begin with yourself and work backwards, towards your parents, grandparents, etc. Resist the urge to start with Great Grandma Rhodes who your family has always spoken about. Researchers have wasted years going down the wrong path, because they didn’t start with themselves work their way back and then confirm or deny word of mouth information from family members.

Write down everything you know about yourself. Your full name (legal and nickname), when & where you were born, parents names (adopted, foster, etc), where you grew up, siblings (half, step, full).  After you have written down everything you know, attempt to confirm the information with documentation. Frequently individuals have assumed something ie, I was born in KY, only to get the birth certificate and realize you were born in OH.  This could have happened because all the other siblings were born there and you just assumed you were too. Never assume! Be open to the facts. Also be open to not being able to confirm every fact. I will talk frequently about a “Preponderance of evidence”.

Sidenote – when documenting the names of women, write down their BIRTH NAMES (maiden). It becomes very difficult to trace women when their last names at birth are unknown or shrouded in the mystery of their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd husband.  A fellow researcher, Charles Kenneth Barker, remarked how hard it was to trace his female ancestors. I let him know that it wasn’t an accident that women are hard to trace. Society pressures women to give up their names and there by their connection to their birth families and their connection to history.(Stepping down from my soap box.)

After writing down everything you know about yourself, write down your parents’ names full name (legal and nickname), place of birth, date of birth, place of death and date of death if applicable.

Next, write down all of that same pertinent information for your grandparents, great grandparents, etc as many generations as you can.

At this point you have a lot of information written down. This is a good time to decide what kind of organizational method you will use, folders, binders, computer files, etc. Most people will use several of these tools. You can conduct research without a computer.  However if you enjoy computers using a database program can help you organize your research. There are several great programs out there.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

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Roland L. Hayes – Gospel Singer

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Roland (at the end on the far left)

Roland Hayes was born in Smith Grove, KY on  April 1, 1915. He was a gospel singer in Kentucky and later in Indianapolis, IN. He was the father of Ronzo and Albert. He also worked as a night watchman at Cornell-Dubilier company from 1951 – 1954. His employers noted he was a, “Good worker and a trusted employee”.   According to the Indianapolis Recorder, March 27, 1954 he lived in Indianapolis from 1951 – 1954. Roland was a member of Greater Zion Baptist Church  and the Greater Indianapolis Temple of the Elks 899.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

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Family Sheros and Heroes – Black History Month

This month I will be posting stories about some of the important people in my family. Black History Month is always a great time to reflect on significant people in our history. No people are more important than the ones closest to us. If you have a person you would like to share, email it to me and I will also post your story.

Success defined

Success
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.” Bessie Stanley

When I think about Success I often reflect on this quote. We should all define sucess for ourselves. Don’t let money, position or titles define success for you.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

History happens while we are busy living our lives

Snowmegedon

Snowmageddon 2014 is hopefully coming to a close. If you are fortunate enough to have some quiet time (or not so quiet), jot down some memories from the last several days. The record low temperatures combined with the record snow falls has created weather not seen since the famous Blizzard of 1978. When younger family members ask you, “Where were you during the Snowmageddon of 2014?” It would be nice to say something more than, “I ate a lot of cookies.” LOL

My family and I survived a power outage, that forced us out into the frozen tundra to the safety of a hotel for the night. A few days later we had even more excitement in the form of a broken water pipe.  It’s been quite a week, one that we won’t soon forget. And to make sure of it, I’ve taken pictures to document what we’ve survived.  My Mom has pictures of me and my baby sister making snow angels during the Blizzard of 1978. We were both dressed in our matching parkas with the faux fur trimmed hood!   Jot down some memories folks! And take some pictures. Later, you’ll be happy you did!

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

My Maternal Grandmother, Granny, took care of me during the day, before I entered Kindergarten, while my parents were at work.  Her first and middle names was Anna Mae. And that’s the way you said it, all together Anna Mae.  Since I spent so much time with her a lot of her friends and other people in the community identified me with her very closely. I also favor her a great deal. You can see a picture of the two of us on my homepage.

When I was older and able to move about the city by myself, I would often hear the question, “Aren’t you Anna Mae’s Grandbaby?”  I would answer in the affirmative and hope that I was honoring her legacy.  I often wondered, “How in the world did all these random people know who I was?” This was many years before social media.  Later on I found out that she would show my picture (and my sisters and cousin, and much later our children) to any and everyone that she could. She bragged on us constantly. I have another story about that, but I’ll save it for another day and another post.

Granny has passed on now, however she is never far from my thoughts. She loved me unconditionally and fiercely until her last breath. I miss her so much. As I write this I can’t stop the tears from falling. However, I am so blessed to have had her in my life. Her legacy lives on in me and the rest of my family.

Nichelle

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby”

Welcome to my blog.

For several years friends and family members have encouraged me to write about my family and my genealogical searches.  Well here I am! I am excited about this new page in the story that is my life.

I first began researching when I was given an assignment in middle school, St. Andrews’ the Apostle Elementary School (K – 8), to research my family tree.  The assignment is one that many school kids are given. For me it started me on my journey of researching my family tree or genealogy.  I immediately dove head first into the assignment. I quickly wrote down my parents’ names and my maternal parents’ names.  I could even go back about 3 generations on my Mom’s paternal side.

This was the first time that I understood the term “family” had 2 sides, Maternal and Paternal.  Prior that my relatives were all lumped together.  I had a large extended family that was primarily of my Mother’s family.

This assignment started my love affair with genealogy.  This blog will discuss family history, ancestors, and descendants and how we stay connected across the generations.  Family stems from blood, marriage, adoption and often times the bonding of friends.  The Ties That Bind Us are of Love.  I hope you enjoy my blog. I hope that this will encourage you to connect with you family both past and present.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Nichelle

“Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby“