At first I thought that maybe I bit off more than I could chew. I am not a genealogist. Genealogy is just my hobby. Even though I’ve been “doing it” for more than 20 years, I guess I got a case of “stage fright” and thought, “I can’t do this blogging thing…I’m an amateur, for crying out loud!”  But, yesterday I sat with my laptop and my cell phone cradled on my shoulder and tried to find some of my friend’s long-lost relatives. She said to me, “You should open your own private-eye business!” Now, I’m no Magnum, P.I., but I’m pretty good at hunting for those friends and relatives that are a bit out of reach, whether they’re still here on planet Earth or in the hereafter! So, I’m going to quit the self-doubt and get on with it…

I must interject here and also state that I’m thankful for the 2 comments I’ve received. They are from total strangers! WOW!  So, that gives me a little more reason to get goin’!

OK, so back to the beginning…

So, let’s say you’ve interviewed some of your relatives.  Now, what do you do with that information?  Well, the first thing would be to write that family information onto a family group sheet.  I like the format of the one that offers here .  It’s a free download.  If you can’t open it, make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.  If you don’t have Adobe, you can download it here for free.

Print out the form and then you can begin filling in the blanks!  When I worked in a medical lab some years ago, before computers were connected to each other, my manager (a former teacher) would say to me, “Documentation!!  Remember to document everything!”  In the case of searching out our families, proper documentation is crucial!  If you’re anything like me, you want to KNOW you’re right.  You will find many, many mistakes others have made later as you continue in your quest.  So, for now, make sure you get it as “right” as you can, to the best of your knowledge!  So, fill out a form for each family group.

Now, you will end up with a lot of papers.  But in this day and age of computers, you probably will want to start to enter this information onto your laptop or desk top.  If you’re like me, you want to keep it straight.  So, at this point, you might want to do a Google search for a free genealogy program (do you notice that I use the word “free” quite often?  I like “free”, don’t you?)  The one that I downloaded for FREE is from Legacy Family Tree.  You can download your own FREE version here.

Feel FREE to play around with this.  I would enter my own family information first.  You will notice that the entries will be numbered.  (I like to be #1!!)  If you’re married, start there, and then add your parents, siblings, etc.  You might end up with 50+ people in your tree in your first hour.  How fun is that?!