Gather Records in Your Home or a Relative’s Home

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
Family and Home Information Sources Checklist
Family and Home Information Sources Checklist

A lot of us start researching by jumping online, and we do not start by using our own family archives. You could miss the best information that would keep you routed in the right direction to find your family.  All that you need to do to start is look through this checklist and find things in your own house that can tell you about an ancestor. Gather all the records in your house that have a name of a family member on it. If you have never done this, you may not realize the number of items that you will find.

Get a couple of empty boxes in which to place these items. Go through each of item in this checklist. This checklist might not include some records that you will find in your home. Just add those items to the checklist.

Search Your Home

One place to look would be where you keep letters or mail. That also includes e-mail. Letters to you and letters to other family members you have saved can have give you many details to write down. Addresses are just one important detail about your family.

Next, photos in the form of .jpegs or stored in photo albums can reveal the images your of family members. Photographs are certainly records, and hopefully, these records have been identified.

Vital records are records such as birth, marriage, divorce, or death. Search your home for these because they will have more than one generation of a family member and most us have at least one in our possession.

Did a family member die? You might have an obituary and a newspaper article which will tell you quite a bit about that person. Obituaries and newspaper articles tell us where people lived, parents, siblings, children, and spouses’ names. They even sometimes have the names of aunts, uncles, and cousins. You can learn who the funeral home was and where they were buried.

Getting Other Family Members Involved

In addition to doing this in your own house, you could pass this checklist on to a family member, and they could gather the resources in their home. You may even excite their curiosity enough to begin this journey of discovery with you! If other generations of ancestors stayed in either of your properties, do not forget to search those attics! In an upcoming blog post, we will discuss what you should to with all the resources that you find.

Sharpen the Saw

Can you tell how using this checklist will help you when you begin to search for your family online? Let us know online in our Facebook Group.

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