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  • Introduction to Genealogy

  • What Is Open Source Genealogy

  • The Importance of Open Source Genealogy

  • Family Tree Organizing Tips

  • 12 Essential Genealogy Supplies

  • Genealogy Beginner Mistakes to Avoid

  • How Far Back Can I Trace My Genealogy?

  • Using Cemetery Records in Genealogy Research

  • Genealogy Research Through Living Family Members

  • Tips for Managing Your Genealogy Archive

  • Resolving Conflicting Genealogy Records

  • DNA Testing and Genealogy Research
  • 12 Essential Genealogy Supplies

    You can conduct your research into your genealogy through free open source resources.  You can take notes and collect papers and old photographs from relatives who will be happy to pass on information to you as you pursue the charting of your family tree.  But at some point, hopefully early on in your research, you’ll find that having a few supplies will make your life vastly easier.  Here is a list of the top 12 things you may want to consider having on hand.

    1. A Pedigree Chart:  This is simply that “family tree” chart which shows surnames and how they are connected.  A good one will go back five generations, after which you’ll want additional charts for the many branches of your family tree.

    2. Binders:  These will help you keep track of loose papers and articles sorted by surnames.

    3. Page Protectors:  Those plastic sleeves you can put your pedigree charts, photos and certificates in for protection.

    4. File Boxes:  You will often want files of miscellaneous papers sorted by surname that are references, collaborating material or for information yet to be verified.

    5. Hanging Files:  Nothing needs to be said other than these should fit your file boxes.

    6. Labels:  Some people use colored stickers and trace family surnames by color, some use numbers.  Either way you’ll want to be able to label your files.  File sticker like those used in a doctor’s office for charting work well as they often have both colors and space for numbers and names.

    7. Manila Envelopes:  Nothing is more frustrating than opening up a file to have it scatter all over the floor.  Use manila envelopes within folders to keep loose papers contained.

    8. Wall Chart Sized Family Tree:  At a glance you’ll be able to see how everyone fits and it’s particularly helpful when you start to dig back over four or five generations.

    9. Spiral Notebooks:  A divided spiral notebook is a helpful tool for keeping track of things like frequently used online resource urls, notes to be followed up upon, etc.

    10. Sticky Notes:  Not great for permanent notation but occasionally you may want to make notes about a particular article or tie a certificate to another piece of information.  You can write on a Sticky Note and affix it to the certificate without ruining the certificate itself.

    11. Protective Gloves:  You will run across documents that are so old they should not be touched by skin.  Oils from the hand can leave stains or smudge old inks.

    12. Audio Recording Devices and a Camera:  Depending on your access to elders and your interest in developing a history of life in your family’s heritage, you may want to record interviews and take pictures of members in your family.

    One final necessity:  An Understanding Spouse or Partner!  The time spent in your obsession, the side trips to cemeteries for rubbings and the stacks of papers no one can clean around are all important to you.  Keep on the good side of your spouse or partner by rewarding him or her with a meal out once in a while…on your way to a county courthouse or small historical museum where your long lost great great uncle twice removed may be mentioned.

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