How To Find A Grave By Name – Online Memorials Make It Easy!

During my genealogy research, I ran across a site called findagrave.com which is an online memorial website allowing anyone to create online memorials. It is a completely free genealogy site! The Find A Grave website allows you to search for and find a grave by name thus making it easy to find graves of your loved one’s! I absolutely love this site and will go over all the reasons why in this post.

Long Distance Tribute To Loved One’s

First of all, findagrave.com was created as a place to remember those who have passed and for this reason alone I love the website. It maybe won’t make sense if you live in the same area your family does and did, but for someone transplanted like me it is an awesome site to be able to visit.

The bulk of my family is in Michigan, but I also have some family in Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, etc. You get the picture. So visiting the graves of all of my loved one’s and family members for any reason is out of the question. I do visit my father’s grave a couple of times a year at least, but to go all over the United States and visit them all would be highly improbable.

Sites like findagrave.com allow you to find a grave by name and store the memorial into a virtual cemetery. That means you have a place to view the memorial and leave flowers in remembrance of your loved one! It also means you have a place to post pictures to remember them by and allow others to view them as well.

Locating The Burial Place Of A Loved One

Another reason why I love findagrave.com is that it gives you the ability to find a grave by name. What I mean by this is that if you are maybe not local to where your loved one is buried and/or just do not know where the burial was done, then with this site you can search by name and the state. It will show results which you can then narrow down to the name that you need.

I recently moved to Wisconsin from Arizona, but like I stated before, the majority of my family is in Michigan. There are a ton of cemeteries in the area where my family is concentrated. With findagrave.com I can find the online memorial and determine which cemetery my loved one is buried in. This is very helpful if you are planning a trip for genealogy reasons to complete research or even just to plan a trip to visit your loved one’s grave.

Research Possibilities

Websites like findagrave.com are also very helpful for the research possibilities they offer to genealogists, even the novices. I should actually say especially the novices! Having a virtual memorial which gives so much information makes performing genealogy searches so much easier!

Take for example my grandparents on my dad’s side…once I found them on the site, I have now found all of their children attached to them (the one’s that have passed).

Rebecca Emily Puckett Coburn

I then would add all of them to the same virtual cemetery with the surname Coburn which is their last name. I now have one place where I can view all of their memorials and each one has a lot of information I can use for my research.

The picture above shows the find a grave memorial for my dad’s mom, Rebecca Emily Puckett Coburn.  As you can see from the arrows, on her memorial you can view her husband’s name (my grandfather) and a list of her deceased children, my aunts and uncles.  There are several more not shown in the picture.  Each name is a link to that person’s memorial!

I think it is really great having all of the family members in one place to view.  People are mostly visual and being able to see the members of the family unit all together helps me with my research particularly with the older generations where I wasn’t alive to know the ancestors.

Downfalls Of Online Memorials

Be wary of these sites though, because the information in them is coming from friends, family, obituaries where the information is coming from the family, etc. In other words, the information may not be 100% accurate.  Inaccuracies could lead you down the wrong path!

When my uncle Lloyd passed away, his wife at the time thought he had a couple of sisters…not 4! My mother and he are twins and she didn’t know that either. She also didn’t know that he had a brother. She made out his obituary without including those people and their families.

Another example I have to share is that one of my aunt’s name is spelled wrong on her grave. No one knows for sure how it is supposed to be spelled. It is actually spelled differently every time I have seen it written. I have another uncle whose grave has the wrong birthday on it. These inconsistencies are the result of the information coming from people and not records.

I am only putting this out there so that you take the information provided on the site with a grain of salt. If inconsistencies are found with a relative of yours, you can send an edit request to the person who created and maintains the memorial to request the changes.

When my dad died, I was actually in the room with him in a hospital in Wisconsin. One of my cousins created his online memorial and added in it that my dad passed away in Michigan (he is buried in Michigan). Inaccuracies do occur, but it is not a huge deal. Just submit an edit request and even if the memorial maintenance person doesn’t respond, it will automatically update the memorial in 21 days.

You can also request to have a memorial transferred to you to maintain, which will keep the original creator of the memorial listed to give them their credit for the creation. If the memorial is related to both the creator and yourself, then the person with 4 or closer generations to the memorial is allowed by the site to maintain the memorial. Most of the time though, I find that the memorial was created by someone not related at all and they typically have no qualms about just transferring the memorial to me.

Final Thoughts

Online memorials are a great way for relatives to remember loved one’s, but are also a great research tool for genealogists. Sites like findagrave.com allow people to search and find a grave by name. This ability helps narrow down search results when performing genealogy searches. The memorials typically have a lot of information on them such as other relatives names, birthdays, deceased family members, location of the grave, etc.

When using the sites like this one, just be careful not to rely solely on the information provided in the memorial because it maybe somewhat inaccurate. While researching my husband’s side, I found his grandmother listed as having his father as her father! Inaccuracies do occur, but the information can be corrected.

Happy searching and remember I am always here to guide you if needed. Please leave any questions or comments below. I look forward to assisting you with your journey in filling out your family tree!

Regards,

Chas Guevara

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A Free Printable Family Tree Chart – Useful Tools for Beginning Your Family Tree Research!

I’ve written a few posts on getting started with creating your family tree, but something I haven’t really touched on yet is what to actually use for starting your family tree. I started my family tree with notebook paper, which is effective, but does create a bit of confusion particularly when you do not know exactly how everyone is related.

In this post I want to go over some useful free tools, like a free printable family tree chart, which can help you organize your family information to limit the confusion. This way you don’t have to keep asking “how is this person related again?” Sometimes I feel I annoy my mom by asking her the same questions!

Free Printable Family Tree Charts

Family tree charts are available in multiple places online and are mostly all free. In this post I’ll point out where to get some of them from and also how to utilize them to your benefit.

First of all I’ll discuss the importance of having your family tree information on something concrete. We all know that the Internet is not 100% safe and the information we store online is not absolutely secure either against hackers or against man-made and natural disasters. Computer systems fail, people can hack into the files and steal information or corrupt it, natural disasters can occur, and as a result information can be lost.

It is important to safeguard your family tree to prevent having to redo any of your hard work. I recommend backing up your file both electronically and physically. The genealogy websites do allow files to be printed out and at the very least I would recommend printing each family tree chart called a pedigree.

An alternative to this would be to print out one of the many free online printable family tree charts and manually filling the chart out with names, birth dates, death dates, anniversaries and children’s names included. This would save a ton of time when re-entering any lost data should a problem occur.

WikiTree Free Printable Blank Family Tree Charts

I recently wrote a post on WikiTree. You can read all about it here, but within WikiTree is a system for printing various family pedigree charts. I have not found a way to print a blank family tree chart out, but with WikiTree you can print a variety of family trees out in different generational levels.

I have created a new account for the purpose of showing you what it would look like and without adding information it looks like the following:

After you have added information about your family into your WikiTree account, other printable family trees are available including family profile sheets and multi-generational charts.

Other Online Printable Family Tree Sheets

FamilyTreeTemplates.net has a variety of free and low cost printable family tree charts available. Some go to as many as 12 generations and are all free unless you would rather have a customizable version. The website states there are 328 versions available so much to choose from! Below is a sampling of some printable charts available.

DustyDocs.com offers a free printable family tree chart which is also available on Pinterest. I have provided a link to print it out for your convenience.

Another available chart on Pinterest is a large tree chart.

There are many other printable charts available online for your every need. I chose these few to list because they encompass the most important aspects of beginning research. The simple pedigree chart is really great for easily jotting down names and dates to add to your online family tree at a later time. This will help with your organization and also it serves the dual-purpose of having a backup in case there is a problem with the online file.

Other Useful Tools for Family Tree Research

File box for storing your family tree information in
Click here to purchase on Amazon!

Once you have your system down for writing out your family tree information, whether it’s through the use of printable blank or filled out family tree pedigrees or simple paper and pen, you’ll want something to start filing these important papers in right away. I utilize the boxes you would use to store important papers in. File boxes you can get at any office supply store, green hanging folders and tabs.

For your convenience I have added a link to the picture of a file box which will take you to Amazon to purchase that particular box if you would want to.

The system you use for filing is whatever works well for you. I have my files set up by surname since I am researching my mom’s side, my dad’s side, my husband’s’s dad’s side and his mom’s side. I have surname files for all 4 names and break down the folders from there.

In the files you’ll want to store the pedigree sheets for each branch of your family along with any important documents you collect. Death certificates, birth certificates, obituaries, newspapers clippings, school records, church records, etc are all important pieces of your family puzzle you’ll want to collect and store for safe keeping.

Having these important documents will also help to restore your online family tree if anything happens causing a loss of information. These documents will help you to easily repair any damage.

Organization Is The Key To success

Staying organized will go along way to keeping your family tree gathering on track. Having printable family tree charts will help your family sections stay together and eliminate the confusion. It will also serve as a great backup system in case of natural or mad-made disasters or any other thing which could cause a loss of your long sought after information.

I also find the family tree pedigree charts help me visualize the connections in the family. For instance, I have multiple Addies in my family. Having the charts helps me to see which specific person I am researching at a given time so as not to confuse them and search the wrong information. This could lead to very frustrating results!

Whichever system you choose, it is just important to keep organization and maintain focus on what you are researching. Having some sort of pedigree charts will help you pick up where you left off when there are intervals between searches due to work, school, or other life activities. Let’s face it…We are all busy with life and remembering exactly where we left off could prove to be difficult. I make notes for myself as well as having all of my documentation. This really helps when I’m switching between branches of my family tree and my husband’s family tree as well.

I hope you have found this information helpful and look forward to assisting you with your journey to find your ancestors. Please leave any comments or questions below and I’ll be happy to get back to you!

Thank you,

Chas Guevara

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Creating A Free Online Family Tree – Is It Really Possible?

Are you just starting out researching your family tree and do not know where to start? Have you been thinking about starting your family research and need a place to start logging information? Well I have an answer for you and it doesn’t even cost one red cent!

Wikitree.com offers one of the completely free genealogy sites I have mentioned before and with this post I will take a closer look at the site and show you what it has to offer. The good, the bad and the ugly so to speak! When I am finished, you’ll know what exactly it takes to create your very own free online family tree.

Wikitree – The Basics

Wikitree is a completely free online family tree and genealogy site. There are other free genealogy sites, but with this post I’ll just concentrate on Wikitree.com to give you a look at what it really has to offer.

First of all, you can create your free account and start making your free online family tree by entering the first person in your family tree….YOU! It all begins with you.

When you go to the Wikitree website, you’ll see this.

Setting Up Your Free Online Family Tree Through Wikitree.com

You’ll first want to sign up for your very own free account by hitting “Get Started (I have marked it with a purple arrow).” As you can see, Wikitree.com has over 18 million profiles within the databases and has contributions from over 560,000 genealogists! That is a lot of possibilities for connections!

The next screen you’ll see, after hitting the “Get Started” link, is this screen:

As you can see, this site is COMPLETELY FREE!! We all like stuff for free and if you’re interested in creating and maintaining your very own free online family tree, then Wikitree is a solution for you.

I already created my own free account a number of years ago so I’m going to go ahead and sign in and show you some benefits of the account.

Getting Started With Your Family Tree

When I’m logged on to my free online family tree account, I see the following picture.

Wikitree The Free online Family Tree

This is an actual picture of my account and you can see a snippet of my very own family tree! There I am at the bottom, Chastity Ann Coburn and my parents above me and then my grandparents on both sides.

The first step, once you set up your free account, is to add yourself, your parents and then your grandparents.

Compiling Information For Your Family Tree

Once you have set your free online account up and added yourself, your parents and your grandparents, you can add any other family members you actually know. Add your aunts and uncles, cousins, your children, etc. This is all time-consuming, but easy. The real fun begins once this is all set up!

After finishing with everyone you know, at least all the people you can connect the dots with, you can start to compile information on those you don’t know.

What I mean, by the people you can connect the dots with, is that you wouldn’t want to add someone you do not know the relation with. I recently came into contact with a member of my family that is in a section of the family which was long-lost when my grandfather moved from Kentucky to Michigan when my dad was young. My grandfather’s siblings remained in Kentucky and had children and their children had children and so on. The result was a whole branch of the family my dad and I didn’t know!

We came into contact with the granddaughter of one of my grandfather’s brothers through Facebook and I knew her name, but not how she was related to me exactly. Of course I knew she was a cousin, just not exactly who her parents are and how she fit into the family tree. So adding her without that information would not have helped at all. I worked backwards starting with what information my dad had on his dad’s brothers and then searched for their children and grandchildren until I figured out exactly how she fit into my family tree, and then I added her!

Researching Your Family Tree

To start researching, you’ll first want to compile as much information as you possibly can. Talk to your older relatives still living. I am at a disadvantage here as many are no longer living and those that are had few memories. But whatever information you are given, write it all down.

Jot down names and nicknames, birthdays, death dates, locations the people lived, etc. Whatever you can find out just jot it all down. Enter into your tree whatever information you can and use that as a basis for research.

In my case, I could only find out my grandparents names, date of births, all of my immediate aunts and uncles names and a lot of their children’s’ names. My grandfather on my dad’s side had 4 children prior to marrying my grandmother and my dad could not remember all of their names. The children were considerably older and were never around my dad and his other siblings very much at all.

It took some time and persistence, but I have found all of their names and located other members of their families for my family tree.

The more information you have the better and easier your research will be. Names and dates help to narrow down similar people within searches so that you can add accurate information to your free online family tree file.


Is Wikitree Right For You?

So is Wikitree the right option for you? That depends on you and what your life looks like. There are other free options out there, as well as paid options. I have used Wikitree personally for some years now and find it helpful. It is relatively user-friendly for computer novices.

I think it is a great starter program for new researchers and a great option for those looking to research for free. It is pretty easy to maneuver and search. I like the way the profile sheets for each individual look. I also like the way it automatically tells you about potential matches within the database when you enter a name. Wikitree is a great option for researching on a budget.

Thank you for reading my post and I look forward to hearing from you with any comments or questions!

Chas Guevara

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How To Search For People For Free – Online Research Made Easy!

Are you looking to find someone and have limited funds? Have you started or are you wanting to start doing genealogy research on your ancestors? If you are you have come to the right place. I have been researching my family history for the last fifteen years and I will share you with some tips on how to search for people for free.

Totally Free Genealogy Sites

I recently wrote a post on totally free genealogy sites which you can read all about here. I will not go into a lot of detail here, but there are many sites online which can be utilized to search for people totally free. I will say my favorite option, which is completely free, would have to be either the LDS website Family Search or WikiTree. Either of these are good options and could be used to create a family tree for free.

Libraries Are A Great Way To Complete Research For Free

Public libraries are a great place to begin research, especially if you live locally to the area your family lived in. Looking over the microfilm is a great way to find information on your ancestors in the old newspaper articles from the area. Also most libraries have genealogy sections with records for ancestry research.

Getting a library card is usually free and researching within a library is free. If you have a library card then you are all set!

Local Records Departments

Another great place to get some information on your family is at churches in the area or civil buildings where records are stored. Churches usually have records on patrons and could be very helpful for your research and records departments can give you certified copies of records for use in your research.

Cemeteries Hold A Wealth Of Information

Visiting cemeteries, in the area your family members would be buried in, is a great way to get information about your ancestors. Recently I was visiting my dad where he is buried in Michigan and, while I have been there several times, I discovered a grave close to his of a family member I did not even know was buried in that cemetery. The headstone gave me quite a bit of information I did not have. I was able to obtain the correct full name of the relative, their date of death and birth, the military status and more!

As I walk through cemeteries, I take my phone out and take pictures of each headstone of my relatives and sometimes a few to make sure I can see everything in the photo. Then, when I am completing my research at home, I enlarge the photos on my computer and can enter all the information from the stones into my family tree profile.

Many headstone list birth and death dates, anniversaries and even children and grandchildrens’ names. I have also found that family members are often buried close to other family members and found relatives in this way. As I walk through the cemeteries, I will also take photos of headstones which share the same surname as the names I am researching. i then see if I can find a family connection.

Social Media Is a Great Free Option For Genealogy Research

The best way I have personally found, on how to search for people for free, is to utilize social media. Everyone has a smartphone these days and that very cellphone opens a whole new method for genealogy research online. You have at your fingertips, a totally free way of finding your relatives.

When I first started out with my genealogy research, I made lists of my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, their kids, my siblings and their kids, and everyone else I could think of. I then asked my parents and compiled all the information into a free genealogy site.

I have since taken this information and I use social media to find my relatives I do not know or haven’t seen in many years. It is fairly simple because I have found most people do not have their profiles as private. scary in this day in age, but true. I take the names of people I know in my family tree that I am connected to on say Facebook and then search through their profiles. I look in the About page for relatives added, schools they attended, locations they lived in, their birthday, and whatever else I can find.

I then add the information into my family tree profile and it gives me so many more clues to search for and the ability to find additional ancestors! Each and every clue is a step closer to finding and filling your family tree and Facebook is free!

Free Resources Are Out There!

There are a lot of ways for how to search for people for free if you are willing to devote some time to the task. Paid sites are easier to maneuver and easier to search, but free methods are available. Searching via social media can be a daunting task, but it gives so much information and also you can have a picture to put to the name!

Having a picture of each relative in my family tree profile helps me keep the people separate in my mind. This is especially helpful when two people, like a father and son, share the same name. having a picture helps me keep them straight. It also adds a very real element to the person, that personal touch.

Other ways of searching for free are libraries, civil records departments, churches, free genealogy sites, and cemeteries. If you have found any other methods for researching your family tree for free, I would love to hear all about it below! I have compiled a list of some free genealogy sites, but if there are others you have tried and liked, please let me know! I will gladly check them out and write about them as well!

I hope you have found this information helpful. Please let me know below if you have any comments or questions. I would love to hear from you!

Chas Guevara

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Have You Ever Wondered How To Find Your Ancestors For Free? – Totally Free Genealogy Sites

Do you ever wonder where you came from or what your heritage really is? Are you looking for your ancestors or trying to fill in your family tree? Genealogy research can be expensive, but if you are limited on funds or just do not want to spend your hard-earned cash on research, there are ways which answer the question of how to find your ancestors for free.

I have personally used some free databases out there and have done some research to help others out in their quest for finding their family roots for free. I have listed some totally free genealogy sites below.

******Looking to get started with genealogy and family history research, read about getting started with genealogy here.******

Family Search

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has one of the free genealogy sites I have used personally. I am not a huge fan of this site personally, but it does allow you to enter your relatives in and complete searches. I find this one to be a bit cumbersome and isn’t as easy to maneuver as some other sites, but the functionality is there and it is free!

One-Step Web pages by Stephen P. Morse

The One-Step Web pages by Stephen P. Morse allows you to search the databases available for your family members. It is not a site where you can actually form your family tree.

Online Genealogical Index

The Online Genealogical Index is also a site simply for completing searches. This free genealogy site only has information for Wales, the Isle of Man and England in it. It is great for searching for relatives in those locations.

Find A Grave

Find A Grave is a free genealogy site which is a virtual cemetery. It contains grave and death information on a tremendous amount of people and new records are being added all the time. It is a really great resource.

This site allows people to sign up for their local area as a contributor and then those contributors can take pictures at local cemeteries. The photos submitted are theirs alone for one week. Provided the contributor transcribes the photos within 1 week, the memorials created by the pictures are going to be in that person’s profile to manage.

Having a virtual memorial for your loved ones is a really neat thing to have for people who are a great distance from where their loved ones are buried or even for people who were cremated. My uncle Lloyd was created and his ashes were spread in a location my family had never seen. My family has nowhere to go to remember my uncle and having the online memorial is strangely comforting. Knowing there is a place where my uncle can be remembered is important to the family.

But the primary reason Find A Grave is so great is that it allows family researchers access to a wealth of information about their loved ones. When the memorials are linked by parents, spouses and children, they show you relatives of the deceased. It makes finding the siblings, parents and spouses so much easier. Find A Grave is one of the really useful free genealogy sites available and definitely a must for any researcher to check out.

If you have any spare time, I recommend signing up to contribute photos and create memorials. It is comforting to help other researchers and in turn, others will help you out as well. You can request a grave site photo if you are not local to the cemetery and you need it for your research. I am signed up as a contributor for the Stephens Point/Plover, Wisconsin area.

Public Libraries

Many public libraries have genealogy sections and databases for research. In Wisconsin if you have a library card, you can access the BadgerLink system online for researching your family tree for free.

Another great public library resource is the LDS Genealogy and Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The library is completely free to use and contains records from many countries. The collection held by the library is growing at a rapid rate and was originally started in 1894 as a means for LDS church members to research their families. It has become a very popular tourist attraction for people all over looking to do their own free genealogy research.

Wikitree.com

Wikitree.com is another free genealogy site I have personally used. I started compiling all of my ancestry information on this free genealogy site. The site is fairly easy to use and has a pretty good community.  Read all about WkiTree in my review.

Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com is actually a very well-known genealogy site which is a paid site. However, you can utilize their databases without having a paid subscription. After switching over to using Ancestry.com for my complete family tree file, I came upon a time when I was unable to pay for the paid subscription and had to cancel my Ancestry account. After canceling I was no longer able to follow the hints Ancestry provides (the little green leaves). I was able to use the site to edit my family tree and also to search manually for ancestors and records.

Ancestry has a very wide range of records including census files, marriage, death and birth records, address information, and so much more. It is well worth the paid subscription, but in a pinch could be used without the paid subscription.

I now have my complete family tree on Ancestry.com and have the all access paid subscription. This is my personal choice to be able to have access to the leaves, but the site is very useful even without that ability. The collections Ancestry.com are really great.

Free Genealogy Sites

There are so many totally free genealogy sites available, but those I have listed are all useful and free. Any of them would help family tree researchers with their research and would be an asset. Having a place to compile your family tree is important, but make sure you have a back-up as I have heard some researchers say their research was lost in full or part. I would recommend printing out family profile pages and keeping them in a safe place.

I hope you have found this information to be helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below. I look forward to helping you with your journey to discover your family roots.

Chas Guevara

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A Link To The Past – Discovering Your Roots

Every journey begins with a single step and that is exactly how my journey to find my roots started. I began my genealogy research for my family tree about 15 years ago as a hobby to find out information for my dad. He grew up in a family that didn’t really talk about who or where they came from.

In his later years, my dad started to wonder about his roots and family history. I started the research for him and have become very involved in learning more about my family history for myself. I’m not sure if the search is really ever over as every day I am discovering more links to the past and it all started with a link to the past. A single step taken has led to a wealth of knowledge about my family and it can for you also!

My Journey to Find My Family Tree

Years ago, when I first started compiling information about my family, I started with what I knew. Granted, that really wasn’t much. I knew my grand-parents names, my parents names, some of my cousins and of course my siblings. I wrote down everything into lists by family units and then started researching free genealogy sites in order to store my information in and make it easier to sift through all the data.

I then started questioning my parents for additional relatives names. I combed through their photo albums and made notes on the pictures of people I didn’t recognize. It is fascinating learning new things about your family members and looking at old photos is like taking a journey. The memories including in those old family photos will really entice your family members to help you with your research.

I’ve spent hours going over photos with my mom and each time, she gives me a piece of the puzzle when she relates what she remembers about the family member or time-frame involved. Including in the photo albums have been newspaper clippings and death notices, which are really great pieces of information for compiling your family tree. Each one is a link to the past and helps to fill in gaps within the family tree.

Setting Goals and Achieving Them

When I started the journey to discover my roots, I set some non-specific goals which I wanted to achieve and have revisited them through-out the process. I was amazed when I reached 500 people and as of today, I have achieved my next goal of adding 1,000 people to my family file.

A single step to finding a link to the past has now led to the discovery of over 1,000 links to my family tree. It is simply amazing to me that starting with just my mom’s parents, Virgil C. Herrick and Ella Mary Parker Herrick, 1,000 people have been connected between my mom and dad’s sides of the family. It is truly incredible that 2 people can affect the world so enormously. The thought that if either of them had not met, what would my family tree look like?

Discovering Your Ancestors

Discovering your ancestors and filling in your family tree is like a puzzle. Each new piece of information gives you a whole new path to follow. I like to take the information where it leads me. I focus on one tiny branch at a time. For example, I wrote down all of my siblings names and their childrens’ names. I then entered each one with their spouses and children by family unit and searched for all the information I could find before moving onto the next sibling.

By researching this way, your branches of your tree will fill out more so and you won’t get confused on where you left off at. I like to see a complete family unit before I move onto another. Of course I run into additional siblings I didn’t have before (not my own!) sometimes or additional children and just add them and fill out as much as you can.

Finding A Link To The Past

Finding a link to the past can be a cumbersome task, but by filling out each branch one at a time, you’ll save yourself some headache. I find it easier to do it a branch at a time so you are focused on specific names and dates. Skipping around causes me some headache because I end up looking for someone with the wrong birth/death date or the wrong spelling of the name.

For an example, I looked for my great-grandfather Edward Herrick with his two oldest children and wife Adda. In Michigan, where they lived at the time, the names of two Edward Herrick’s appear, both with wives named a variation of Adda and both with 2 children. The names of the children for one of the Edward Herrick’s did not both match any of my family members and thus I knew that the second Edward Herrick was correct.

Had I not been focused on the names of his children, the birthdays of everyone and the name of his spouse, I could have easily had added the wrong Edward Herrick to my file. My mother knows so little about her grand-father Edward Herrick because he died when my grand-father (her father) was a small child. My mother never knew him because he was only 32 when he died.

I had added incorrect information to my family tree file before, and let me just say it causes such a headache because I spent hours searching for a person that does not exist in family tree. Some information can led to misinformation so when you are researching your family tree, make sure the information is correct prior to adding it to your file. This will save you time especially if you do not have everyday all day long to devote to your research. Adding information intending to verify later can led to frustration because you may forget you have done this, as I have on occasion.

Building Out Your Family Tree and Enjoying The Journey

Finding the roots to your family can be a very cumbersome task, but also can be very rewarding and fun. It can be fun for the whole family when you relate what you have found out and the whole process can be enjoyable. Discovering a link to the past is like walking down the same path your ancestor has taken. It is nostalgic and feels me with a happiness which is hard to explain. It is almost like my dad is there with me as I take the journey.

My dad passed away in February 2016 from lung cancer, and by researching his family tree I get the sense he is still with me. I often visit cemeteries in my local area of Plover, WI and take photos of headstones to assist other researchers with their family tree searches and each time I feel a connection to the past. I was always afraid of cemeteries as a child, but now I find them oddly relaxing.

Cemeteries hold a wealth of knowledge in them as well and are a great place to get clues to your family history. Each time I visit Michigan, I visit the cemeteries and find headstones of relatives. I always take pictures so I have the dates and correct spellings of names. I have found most also have anniversary dates on them and many also have their kids names and even grand-kids names.

Have fun with your family research and enjoy all the time you have with those loved ones you have as life is very short. I hope all of you enjoy your research as much as I do and if you ever have any questions or comments please leave them below. I look forward to helping you all with your journeys!

 

 

 

 

My Family tree – How To Complete Your Family Tree

Family TreePhoto by takato marui

Genealogy was never something that interested me much as a child. I did often ask my parents and grand-parents questions about where we came from, but to actually research the family never crossed my list of important things to do. I was more concerned with playing with dolls or listening to music than I was with finding who was on my family tree.

As we get older though, our priorities change. I became a mom at the age of eighteen and rounding my mid-twenties mark I started really thinking about who I am and where I came from as well as my parents. I asked my dad questions about his siblings, parents and grand-parents and, for the most part, he didn’t have a lot of answers to give me.

My dad actually started to want to know the answers and so I started a quest to learn who our ancestors were for him. Now fifteen years later I want to help others with their journeys to self discovery through finding the links to their past.

How To Start Filling In Your Family Tree

The very first thing I did, when researching my family tree, was to make a list of everyone my parents could think of related to us. I wrote down all of my aunts and uncles and their children’s names. I wrote down my grand-parents and the few great-grand-parents names my parents knew.

Family TreeI wrote down any dates they knew such as birthdays, weddings, death dates, etc. I started compiling the information into free websites for ancestry such as Wikitree.com. Having the information in a database made it easier to view the tree and see what I still needed to fill in my family tree.

After I finished finding out everything my parents could tell me, I started contacting relatives and asking them about their children, parents, grand-parents, etc. These days staying in touch is simple with Facebook.com and other social media sites. Now I only have to send a friend request to relatives and ask questions, whereas years ago you would have had to send letters or make phone calls. This ability makes researching so much easier.

Research Possibilities For Completing Your Family tree

There are many ways to go about finding your roots, to research your family tree and find your ancestors such as online through genealogy websites like wikitree.com or ancestry.com. You can also go to your local public library and research the newspapers on microfilm and in books and records. You can visit your local records office to obtain copies of birth, marriage and death records. You could travel to places where your family lived and visit libraries and records offices.

The possibilities are endless, but the start should be similar to the way I started. Start by writing down or typing out a list of everyone you can think of and ask your parents, grand-parents and siblings of everyone they can think of as well. Unfortunately for me, I never knew my dad’s dad who died before I was born and my mom’s mom who died when I was 4. My two remaining grand-parents died 11 months apart when I was 11 and 12.

My parents were both on the younger end of their siblings and so the information they knew about their ancestors was very limited so the bulk of what I know, I learned the old-fashioned way through research.

Collecting Information For Finding Your Roots

Once you have the basics down, all the people and dates you can compile, you can start to research and collect additional information to fill in your family tree as I filled in my family tree. It really helps to have as many names and dates you can compile because when you start researching records, you can eliminate people who do not have the same names and/or dates in common.

Jane Austen Family Tree

For instance, when I was researching a great-grandmother on my mothers’ side, I found a person with an identical name with a spouse of the same name as her spouse and a child with a very similar name. Looking over the record I found the dates did’t match or the area she lived in and so I put it into the maybe file until I later ruled it out completely. I have actually run across this quite a few times so having as many names as you can compile is important to help eliminate false information.

I have fallen into a trap of adding information to my file that was incorrect and trust me when I say, it can be very time-consuming and frustrating because then everyone you find related to that person just makes no sense. Now I employ the concept of not adding a person unless I am positive the person is actually who I am looking for. This eliminates confusion particularly since I cannot work on my file every single day.

Another thing I do is to look at the information for validity. By this I mean I check the dates against the age and see if it makes sense. For instance, my aunt gave me some information on my great-grandmother which would have made her 9 when she started having children. This is possible, but unlikely. I had a marriage date already for her and my great-grandfather that would have put her around 18 at marriage which is far more likely. I kept the information my aunt gave me, but did not change what I had already and have found multiple records supporting what I already had in my family tree.

Learning New Things About Your Ancestry

I have found it relaxing and fun to research my family ancestry and to fill in my family tree. With each new person I add, I am adding to my family story and researching what was happening during that time period and discovering the reasons behind why my parents ended up finding one another.

My father was actually born in Tip Top, Kentucky which is literally the top of a mountain. It is a coal-mining small Old Family Phototown where pretty much everyone is related. My mother was born in Michigan where she met my dad at 12 years old. I find it fascinating that those two met because it is highly improbable and that is what I find so exciting about researching my family history.

What is it that makes people migrate from one area across country to another area? Especially when it was during a time when travel was pretty slow and my dad’s family was poor. They did not have a lot of means and my dad actually worked in the onion fields at 12 years old to help support the family. In his family there were sixteen kids!

My father stopped going to school at a very young age and worked to help his parents support their family. His father had been previously married and had 4 children from his previous wife. My grand-mother then had 10 children with him and they raised 2 of their grand-children as their own.

I just find it amazing how things work out. I find it intriguing how two people can meet when they are born worlds apart. Finding out your family history will hopefully be as exciting for you as mine was for me. I spend my free time completing research with online websites for archived newspapers and through websites for genealogy. I am on a mission to discover all of my links to my past!

Discovering Your Roots

Finding your roots and filling out your family tree will hopefully a fun and exciting venture as mine as been and continues to be. Knowing your heritage is important and will give you the ability to tell your children and grand-children where they come from.

Family Tree RootsThe information is out there waiting to be uncovered and I am here to help in any way I can. I have found, during my research, that other people are very willing to help in whatever way they can even with taking pictures of graves in their local area for families that live out of the area. We are all on the same path for discovering our roots and filling in our own family trees and the network is really great.

If you have any questions, comments, or anything else please feel free to add them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I look forward to sharing in your journey to self discovering and helping you fill out your family tree as I have filled out my family tree!

Chas Guevara

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About Chas

My name is Chastity, but all of my friends and family call me Chas for short. I created this website to assist others on their journey for self discovery by helping them to discover their roots.

MY STORY

Years ago I started a journey to discover my roots. I didn’t actually do it for myself though. My dad wanted to know My Dadmore about the family history and, so in my spare time, I have been dabbling with genealogy for about the last fifteen years or so.

In February 2016, my dad passed away from lung cancer at the age of 72. I was devastated and took a breather from everything. Essentially I stopped living. I went to work and worked all the overtime I could get. I went to school as well, but basically nothing else.

My family all lived far from me and those family traditions we had, when my dad was alive, just seemed to be something I no longer had interest in. Then something changed rounding just after the 2-year anniversary of his death. I moved to Wisconsin from Arizona to live close to my mother.

I have been here since May 2018 and my life is different now. I am working on being a healthier me in every way. I work a lot still, but take out for things I enjoy like researching my family heritage. I am now on a mission to complete the family history for my dad and myself.

I now view it as discovering my roots and feeling connected to him.

WHY I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE

I want to help others in their search for self discovery because knowing where you come from helps to map out where you are going. I want to help others to know their heritage and to connect with their history in a way they probably never have before.

I have always loved helping people and that is something I got from my dad. He was a humanitarian without the hype.  He would have given the shirt off his back to help someone in need and I enjoy helping others as well.

Helping Hand

THE GOAL OF MY SITE

My goal is to continue to learn new things about my family history and to help others along the way. My goal is to stay a complete human being by tending to my mind, body and soul.

I love history and discovering new things about my family history is a passion of mine which helps me connect to my dad and our ancestors. I want others to feel that same joy when they discover new things about their family.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Chastity “Chas” Guevara

linkstomypast.com