Now that you have your notebooks, and have documented your immediate family, it is now the time to start expanding out to outside sources for information. How about those uncles, aunts, and cousins you saw last year at a family function or reunion. One time many members do get together is at a family funeral. (unfortunate, but true). This is a good time to quietly ask a few questions and maybe give a family groups collection sheet to a cousin or other family member to fill out for you. Many already have the information. I was doing this step, and found a cousin had already made a family tree for her whole branch of the family. She gave me a copy, but also gladly filled out my family group sheet. She also sent me many of the pictures of her family I did not have and even a few of our common grandparents I didn't have. To which I shared back the one I did have. To my amazement, I had one from another family member from another part of the country, that was sent to me to identify if I could. Three I was unsure of, so sent this to my cousin and lo' and behold she says “That's ME” One of the ones she didn't have a copy of.
So you can see the benfits of just talking to family members and asking them to share what they have. It's amazing the responses you will get. Get a copy of a family group sheet. This has all the fields and data collection you will need to start documenting your family Tree. Pass it to your remote family members by mail or email, It is good to try to set aside a time convenient for all the elders you have left. These are VERY important. The right questions to the right person can fill in many blanks you may otherwise miss.
There are many places on the internet that can and will share Family Data. There is a standard format that can be used to share complete databases of family Surnames. This is called a GEDCOM File. Almost all of the favorite Genealogy Programs will import a standard GEDCOM file. However be aware that some also use their own Proprietary internal formats. Yes they wiill import a GEDCOM but not all will export one. That could be a deciding factor in when and IF you decide to purchase a good program.
Also I want to remind you that there are many sites out on the WWW that will offer sites, or reserarch data. FOR A PRICE!! You can take advantage of these, and obtain a lot of DATA. But also be aware, for good research you must have documentation to back up the facts you collect. Ancestry is one of the biggest, and they do have tons of data. But USE IT at your risk. My Family offers group websites, with postings and messages boards. Great! But remember to get your data posted, and have it to be true and factual YOU have to do the research, and collect the documents to prove the facts. THAT part is not easy! For all the sites that collect data, and offer it for SALE, 90% of all that is already available out there on the net and mostly it is FREE is you dig deep enough.
Here at Genealogy World, we will give you to links to get much of your research done free. We also only ask your free membership to use our site. Once you have a FREE membership and login behind the firewall, these and other tutorials are there but expanded, offer downloads of group sheets, and other aids. We have a members message board and links to Rootsweb mailing lists. Plus we maintain a mailing list of our own. As time and space permits, CENSUS DATA, SHIPS LISTS, and other data will be posted. FOR THOSE that chose to become an Associate Member (paying member), we give you the resources (and help) to build a family site, a Photo Album to upload and maintain your album of photos to share, and will assist you to posting your GEDCOM data ONLINE if you wish. ALL without ADVERTISING ADS on any pages. THAT my friends you will not find on any other sites. All my advertising is on the non-member part of the site. I challenge you to get a free membership to see that is true. You personal data will be proctected and never will your email be given out to anyone but you. That you WILL NOT see on Ancestry, My Family or any Yahoo, Google or other free or pay provider. "Thank you very Much!!"
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