In New or Just Getting Started with Genealogy or Family History Research-Part 1, I discuss the importance of doing your homework, not believing everything without validation, capturing what you learn and using charts. There are forms just as important and examples are below.
Family Group Records (also called family group sheets) are forms with space to record information about the parents and children in one family. Good family group records show names, dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. You can enhance their value by citing the sources that document these events in the lives of family members. If you use computers to generate family group records, you also can easily display additional events such as censuses, change of residence, land purchases or sales, wills proved, and any other events in the family members’ lives. The most useful family group records display as many events and sources as possible. Family group records include all of your relatives, 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th cousins. Often you can go further beyond your 5th cousin.
When you begin research on a new family start by compiling a family group record showing everything you know about them. It is important to list every known event in each person’s life. The more events you list, the better. It is also important to cite the sources of your information. Some of your names, dates, and places may be guesses or estimates. Your sources for this data should explain how you arrived at the estimates.
Blank forms and software to help compile family group records.
Blank forms are available on-line at no cost through a variety of web sites including Ancestors (the television series), Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Each organization’s version of a Family Group record is slightly different. The Ancestry.com form, for example, is more detailed and includes blanks for recording christening, occupation, burial, cause of death, and will. The FamilySearch.org form provides blanks to record LDS ordinance. Choose whatever form best meets your research interests.