How to Begin

The following takes time and patience, but your reward will be the following:

  1. Membership in a lineage society, with the possibility of discovering more revolutionary ancestors than you imagined.
  2. A new hobby -- the fastest growing in the nation.
  Step 1:  Organizing What You Know and Have In Your Possession
  1. Write down on a Lineage Chart the information you or members of your family know about your ancestors.
  2. You may also want to use Family Group sheets or a genealogy computer program.
  3. Arrange your documents and proofs by generation, starting with yourself as Generation #1.
  Step Two:  Prove Information and Dates On Your Chart
  1. Write down the proofs you have for each generation. Include sources in your computer data.
  2. Make a list of proofs that you need.
  Step Three:  Determine What Information You Want To Look For
  1. Check lineage society requirements to decide which line to research
  2. 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.
  3. Use a lineage worksheet and a source sheet.
  Step Four:  Identify Your Sources for Research
  1. 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.
  2. For certificates and information, see Where to Write for Vital Records.
  3. Genealogy books to purchase or borrow by mail.
  4. Computer bulletin boards. Check Prodigy, America Online, etc.
  5. Genealogical and lineage societies. Examples: National Genealogical Society, DAR, SAR.
  6. How to order copies of National Archives Records.
  7. Learn to evaluate your information.
  Step Five:  Research, Research, Research
  1. Learn how to use microfilm and microfiche readers.
  2. Send for birth, marriage, death certificates.
  3. Use the Census Indexes to determine which census films you want to check.
  4. Order the film and study it. Make photocopies of your finds, including the entire census heading.
  5. With each find, evaluate what you have and what you still need.
  6. Keep a Research Journal to prevent repeating research.
  7. Future research may involve land, military, church, vital or immigration records.
  8. Photocopy title pages of all books and genealogies, and names and dates of publication of newspapers.

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Application Paper Copy Requests Information
State & Chapter Web Sites
Overseas Chapters
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