Query: What are some ideas to online survey my ancestors at the Family History Library – http://www.familysearch.org?

Heirlines Professional Genealogy TIP:

Always record your positive and negative findings on your research log, with citations.

1. IGI – International Genealogical Index – Search this database for all names that appear on your pedigree chart. If new names and information are found, try to extend the pedigree. If it appears that there is considerable information, stop temporarily, and go to #2 Ancestral File, to see if the lineage you are searching is filed there. If it is, use the Ancestral File for this part of the survey. If the lineage does not appear in the Ancestral File, then return to the IGI and copy the entries found at least one generation beyond the information on your chart, then stop. Make proper citation on your research log of all discoveries.

If you do not find the names of the pedigree chart in the IGI, pick two or three of the principal names on the chart, and look for surnames in the IGI, in the same area. Remember that you can have the computer focus on just a specific state or country, for example: Bennetts of Maine. This way you can copy out all Thomas Bennetts or Ann Bennetts who appear in Maine. Make a paper copy of this file so you can see what families or informa6tion appear in the IGI for that area.

2. Ancestral File – Search for each Family line on the pedigree chart in this database. It may only go back one generation or 5 generations or more. If a large lineage is found, make a copy of it on a disk or flash drive and also a copy of the pedigree chart on paper. If no lineage is found, then just indicate such in your research log.

3. Pedigree Resource File – do the same here as you did in #1 and #2.

4. Social Security Death Index – Check this database for any findings and record on your research log.

5. Family History Library Catalog — Family Histories — Check the catalog for the principal family surnames on the pedigree chart. If any are found, make a paper copy of one or two of the entries, and then print the catalog index sheet which shows how many histories pertaining to that surname appear in the library collections.

6. Family History Library Catalog — Locality — Identify the principle counties and states that the families on the pedigree chart were from. Locate that county and state in the catalog (such as Adams, Pennsylvania) and copy the index page that identifies what types of sources and the numbers of sources available for that country.

7. Census Records Search – At the end of the computer database searches, you need to search one or two census records for the families on the pedigree chart as a beginning of research and to show the client evidence of their families on original records.

Submitted by:

Mary E. Petty, BA (History) BA (Genealogy)
Professional Genealogist