HOW TO GET STARTED ON YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
1. Start with your parents, brothers, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, cousins
A. Write down what you already know about your family members on a "Pedigree Chart"
B. Copy birth certificates, marriage license, Bible registers, death certificate
C. Write down stories about your families members (believe it or not this will help in the future when you hit a road block: occupation, churches attended, resides, schools & etc.
D. Also fill out a Family Groups Records for yourself if you are a parent.
E. If you or a parent was married before, record that marriage too with brothers and sisters included.
F. Take a camera, type recorder with you when visiting a older family members.
G. When visiting a cemetery, take a cell phone, flash light, rope, another person, camera, chalk, carbon paper, brushes, bucket, paper and time to search for cover grave sites.
H. Remember Be Kind and Be Patient, Ask Questions and Always replied "Thank You"
I. When mailing out requests, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your return address on it.
J. Live the Oldest living relative first (time is short and also memories)
2.Decide what you want to learn about your ancestor
A. When they were born (sometimes baptism date is given for birth date)
B. Where they were born ( counties and State Lines in some States were changed)
C. Married: (Court Houses, Church records, Family Bibles)
D. Where they resided (Court House records, deeds)
E. When they died and date of burial (funeral homes, old newspapers, Obit. Files at Library)
F. Where they were buried ( they may have died in one county but buried in another and also in different states)
G. Start with one ancestor from the pedigree chart and this may led to another
3. Check all records in doing your research
A. There are two main types of genealogical records.
(1) COMPILED RECORDS: These are records that have already been researched by others, such as biographies, family histories, or genealogies that may be on microfilm, microfiche, in books or at Family Search computer stations.
(2) ORIGINAL RECORDS: Are records that were created at or near the time of an event, such as birth, marriage, death, or census records.
4. Obtain and search for records
A. Many local libraries have excellent genealogical materials. Many have local Genealogical Research help, such as the Fostoria Lineage Research Society. Family History Centers also as Hayes Memorial Library, Fremont, Ohio; Kaubisch Library, Fostoria, Ohio; Bowling Green State University Library; and so on.
B. When search the records, check not only the date you believe is correct, but look at a broad frame of time period, check for various of spelling, and write down your results even if you come up empty-handed. Write down where you found your information at and date it.
5. Use the information you found
A. Evaluate the information you have found. Did you find the information you were looking for? Is it complete? Does it match up to what you have or is there some conflict?
6. ORGANIZE is the Key word
A. Organization of your pedigree Charts and information about that ancestors, this will save you time later. Files, note cards, pictures, deeds, marriage records, births & death certificates and all material relating to that ancestors in one notebooks.
B. You may have all your information on your computer but back it up and keep at written copy on files.
COMMON LAW COPYRIGHTING
If you are writing a family history, you can protect it by writing COPYRIGHT followed by the year in which you began writing, and your name. This is called "common law copyrighting" and will protect your work until it is printed. When the material is printed, the copyright notation needs to appear on the title page only. Further protection should be obtained by filing official copyright papers with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. 20559. If you completed work is not yet officially copyrighted, mail a copy of your work by certified mail TO YOURSELF! File the letter UNOPENED! If a legal problem arises, you have a sealed, dated copy of your material for the officers of the court to open.
**** Seen in the Indiana County, PA Historical Society Newsletter February 1999, "Clark House News"
****The above article was taken from the Florida Chapter Ohio Genealogical Society, Inc. Newsletter Sept-Oct 1999. As excepted from the Van Wert Connection, Volume XX Issue 4.
WHO OWNS THE PAST?
There has been a series of back-and-forth on a genealogy bulletin board concerning ownership and copyrights of material developed by family researchers. One person assumed that, because, he researched and organized the family history and pedigree chart, he actually owned the material. When a relative, who had obtained copies, passed this on to a database, the researcher threatened a lawsuit. Solution: one cannot copyright facts. (For example, no one owns the material on a periodic chart.) One can, however, claim right over the manner in which the facts are presented, that is, the format. Thus an organized and written narrative of a family's past may be "owned" although the names, dates, and places, separated from the document, may be used by all without permission.
In another case, the family historian refused to share his work with other member of his clan. Sometime later a cousin found that he had published the material in a book form and had sent copies to various libraries, and never told anyone. Solution: a sense of amusement about human nature and many relatives.
Still others have been outrages because the pedigree charts and other materials they freely and willingly sent to a large national company were made available as commercial product for a price many such contributors felt betrayed. Solution: when readily giving something of value away, understand that you are indeed surrendering any further control over it.
The discovery of the past is probably a deeply personal adventure for many genealogists and a rewarding one, too still, each of us should determine, early on, whether or not he / she will ever share the materials with others. Not to do so would appear to many as selfish and even pointless. To do so is probably one of those good deeds performed with no expectation or reward, except, perhaps that someone else will have insights into his or her origins. That should be reward enough for most.
(Information form Cuyahoga Valley Chapter OGS, by Jack Braveman via The Huron County Chapter OGS and also MCC_OGS Volume 20-4 page 189