Author: Robert W. Penry @ 2023

In family history research, there is a logical set of steps to accomplish your research goal.  There are six steps, each is listed and explained below:  On the internet, you can find various websites that give you a series of steps for research.  All contain good advice.  This is what I feel is the most logical steps.

Step 1 – Choose a family or person about whom you want to know more.

Step 2 – Choose an event (or events you wish to record about the individual or family.  

Perhaps you have chosen a person who was born in 1922 and you would like to know his death date. 

Step 3 – Gather information about the event.  Example: 

 You do know that the person you have chosen lived somewhere in Floyd County, Kentucky, and that he is mentioned in a sibling’s obituary from 1936 as a brother.  Another sibling dies in 1946, but your individual is not listed.  However, the obituary says that 3 brothers were deceased previously.  You now are able to determine that he probably died between 1936 and 1946.  You check county records for the period, newspapers, and cemetery records.  You find a newspaper clipping that says that someone by his name, died as a Marine in the Pacific in November 1943.  You check the internet and find that the Battle of Tarawa was fought in the Gilbert Islands from 20 thru 23 November 1943.  You then check the website “Fold3” and find his death as November 22, 1943 and the record indicates that he was from Betsy Lane, Floyd County, Kentucky.  You are pretty sure this is your individual.

 Where to find Information:  

On-LineCyndi’s List, Family Search,, Fold3, MyHeritage, Findmypast, OneGreatFamily, Genes Reunited, Legacy, JustAnswer, FindAGrave, WikiTree, Fulton History, Google News Archive, US National Archives, FreeBMD (England and Wales), USGenWeb Project, WorldGenWeb Project, Ellis Island, RootsWeb, African Hertiage Project, DAR, JewishGen, Access Genealogy (Native American), Genealogy Trails, UK National Archives, National Archives of Ireland, GENUKI (UK and Ireland), WieWasWie (Netherlands), Billion Graves, Patriot and Grave Index, Freedmen’s Bureau, Hispanic Genealogy, etc.
Written Records: birth, marriage, death certificates, deeds, probate records, church books, registration cards such as draft and voting.  funeral home records, directories, passenger lists, military records and DD214, citizenship records, history books about particular locations, books published by families, family bibles, family journals and diaries.

Step 4 – Evaluate the findings for accuracy. 

 You now check census records and find that the individual you choose is listed in the family with the correct age in the 1930 census from Betsy Layne but he doesn’t appear anywhere in Floyd County in the 1950 census. You find his tombstone in one of Betsey Layne’s 14 cemeteries, and his birth and death date match.  Congratulations you found what you were looking for.

Step 5 – Record your findings.  

Where do you keep your information?  Paper only?  Hopefully not.  If you own a PC or tablet, you should have a genealogy program.  There are other pages on this website to help you choose a good program.  You can also store your information on Family Search, which is free to use. 

Step 6 – Share your findings. 

Even if you have your own genealogy program, you should also include the information on your family area of Family Search.  If you have your own program, you print out information to share with family members.  
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