This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

How to start on your own genealogy

The place to start with your genealogy is not the web, or your local family history center, or any of that stuff. That will come later. The place to start is with your self. Genealogy is nothing more than a collection of names and dates. And good genealogy uses documentation to back up that information.

So, start with you. When were you born? Where? Can you prove it? Do you have a birth certificate? Baptism records? It may seem silly, all you have to do is to look in the mirror for all of the proof you need, but this is how it works - documentation. Without documentation, your genealogy is just hearsay. And there is nothing worse than someone saying, *Yep, my great-uncle was in the revolutionary war, or was it Korea?* Documentation is available, and without it, you might as well be making stuff up.

Start filling up a box with information about you. The hospital where you were born. The schools you went to, including the exact address. Certificates, diplomas. Do the same for your parents, for your children. You don't need a computer for this. Collect old photos, write down the names, dates and locations on the back. And be sure to write out everyone's name - no *me and grandpa at my cousin's house*. With the holidays coming up, this is a great time to spend some time with your family. If you've never asked your grandma about what is was like when she was a little girl, I guarantee that you are in for a treat. Sometimes it's not so good, and times were hard, but it is always interesting.

Be very, very cautious about finding information on the internet. People can, and do, write anything. Sometimes it's wishful thinking, sometimes it's a mistake, sometimes it's a joke. I can write

My dog was the king of England

and it proves nothing. Please don't put that in a genealogy. I've been working on my family's history for almost twenty years now and I have several boxes of documentation. It's just the high points I posted on the web.

I've loved the stories I've found with my family. This is a celebration of life.
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