The following takes time and patience, but your reward will be the following:
- Membership in a lineage society, with the possibility of discovering more revolutionary ancestors than you imagined.
- A new hobby -- the fastest growing in the nation.
||Step 1: Organizing What You Know and Have In Your Possession
- Write down on a Lineage Chart the information you or members of your family know about your ancestors.
- You may also want to use Family Group sheets or a genealogy computer program.
- Arrange your documents and proofs by generation, starting with yourself as Generation #1.
||Step Two: Prove Information and Dates On Your Chart
- Write down the proofs you have for each generation. Include sources in your computer data.
- Make a list of proofs that you need.
||Step Three: Determine What Information You Want To Look For
- Check lineage society requirements to decide which line to research
- For a DAR application, you will need, along with proofs for each person:
- proof of linkage between generations,
- residence of the patriot ancestor during the Revolutionary War, and
- proof of military, civic or patriotic service, citing an official source, for the patriot ancestor.
- Use a lineage worksheet and a source sheet.
||Step Four: Identify Your Sources for Research
- Local library and inter-library loan for books, copies of book pages, and microfilm. Talk with your reference librarian.
- For a small fee, copies can be ordered from the DAR Library.
- For certificates and information, see Where to Write for Vital Records.
- Genealogy books to purchase or borrow by mail.
- Computer bulletin boards. Check Prodigy, America Online, etc.
- Genealogical and lineage societies. Examples: National Genealogical Society, DAR, SAR.
- How to order copies of National Archives Records.
- Learn to evaluate your information.
||Step Five: Research, Research, Research
- Learn how to use microfilm and microfiche readers.
- Send for birth, marriage, death certificates.
- Use the Census Indexes to determine which census films you want to check.
- Order the film and study it. Make photocopies of your finds, including the entire census heading.
- With each find, evaluate what you have and what you still need.
- Keep a Research Journal to prevent repeating research.
- Future research may involve land, military, church, vital or immigration records.
- Photocopy title pages of all books and genealogies, and names and dates of publication of newspapers.