You and your family are the best place to start your genealogy research. First, write down everything you know about all your family members. Use photo albums and other memorabilia in your possession to enhance your list. Next, talk to you parents, grandparents and other relatives to supplement the information you have gathered. Check with other families to see if anyone has already started researching the family tree. Also, talk to people in the communities in which you family members lived. They may be very knowledgeable of your family members and have many stories to share.
Respect people's privacy and understand that not everyone in your family may share your enthusiasm for learning the family history. Don't discount any information as too small or insignificant. Sometimes an off-hand comment or statement may lead to a wealth of information. If a discovery does not seem important at them time. Do not throw the information away. Instead file it in a safe location where it can be retrieved at a later time.
Read books and articles to become family with the correct methods for performing genealogy research. I highly recommend the following books. All of these books may be purchased from Amazon.com.
Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs. This book is an excellent reference for both beginner and experienced family historians. It describes methods and research techniques for performing research and uses case histories involving Burroughs’s family history as examples. The focus of the book is African American genealogy research, but the general research techniques are useful to anyone performing genealogy research.
Courthouse Research for Family Historians by Christine Rose provides step by step details on how to use and interpret courthouse records while performing genealogy research. It is an excellent resource for any family historian.
The internet provides access to numerous resources that will help your genealogy research.
Ancestry.com is an online subscription-base genealogy website that provides access to numerous databases. I have found the following databases to be an invaluable asset to my genealogy research and worth subscription price alone:
US Federal Census Records from 1790-1930
Birth, Marriage and Death Records including the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
Military Records including WWI (1917-1918) & WWI (1942) Draft Registration Cards
Directories such as US Public Records Index, as well as, Phone and Address Directories
In addition to the databases I frequently use, the site also has:
Court Land and Probate Records
and much more
Ancestry.com has been one of the most valuable resources to my genealogy research. If you prefer not to subscribe to the site, check with your local library. Many libraries provide access to the site in.
Online Libraries contains a large collection of digitized books and newspapers. You can search by subject or title, as well as, save books in your personal library. I have located many out of print books that have been helpful to my genealogy research. Some sites are: Google Books, Google News Archive, Internet Archive and Footnote.com. With the exception of Footnote.com, all of the sites are free. Footnote.com has a free trial.
Find A Grave is an excellent resource for locating the graves of your ancestors. You can also add information to the repository. Membership is free. Visit their website and search for your ancestors.