Genealogy Starts at Home

Begin you family history research by looking in the the desk drawers, file cabinets and shoe boxes for old papers, letters and old photos. This is especially important if your parents or grandparents were immigrants. Write down brief notes of the family oral stories and visit the cemeteries where your ancestors are buried to record the grave marker inscriptions and take pictures.

If you are lucky you will find their baptismal certificate, their exit visas and photos of your ancestors who stayed in Poland. These documents will contain more valuable information on your family history than any gold watches or jewels that were inherited.

Treasures may have also been saved by other relatives. Find the descendants of the caretakers of the immigrants. The caretakers may have sorted through the shoe boxes and saved the treasures you need. If you find documents with other relatives, ask for copies and offer to share the results of your research. Also be very careful with the originals since they may be very fragile due to age. Use copies or electronic scans in your research and store the originals in a safe place.

 Remember at this point in your research, you are dealing with documents that you find in the personal papers of your parents, grandparents and other relatives. After you organize this information, you can start your search for information from outside sources.

 Remember these steps to start your genealogy research

  1. Search desk drawers, file cabinets and shoe boxes for birth records, baptismal certificates, exit visas and pictures.
  2. Track down descendants of caretakers of ancestors before they died.
  3. Exchange and share information and documents with other relatives
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