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Free Family Tree Charts: Printables

Family tree software is great. We can add a wealth of information about our ancestors, and it’s conveniently searchable and sortable. But every now and then I still like to see a printed family tree, especially when I’m working on a specific branch and I don’t want to be distracted by the endless supply of mysteries waiting to be solved. That’s where printable family tree charts come in. Plus,...

Make Your Own Family Tree: Your First Steps

It seems hard to believe now, but I started researching my family tree just about 19 years ago. I was a teenager. I honestly don’t know what prompted me to have an interest in my family history. But I do remember what that early phase was like. Today I’d like to share some of the first steps that were involved in the process for those of you new to genealogy research or those of you still deciding if you (or your...

Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Numbe...

One of the most valuable forms I’ve come across in my research into my immigrant ancestors has been form SS-5, which is an application for a U.S. social security number. Here is what the SS-5 looks like using an example from one of my relatives (with personal information blurred out): More importantly, here is the kind of information you can find by reviewing one of your ancestor’s applications for a social...

Should You Share Unflattering Facts Uncovered Abou...

Every now and then family history research uncovers less-than-flattering information about our families. When that happens, we have to make a decision. Do we share that information with other family members? Or do we keep it to ourselves? You would think the answer would be obvious, but certain lines are easy to cross. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to hurt other members of your family. But you might not...

What You Can Learn in Census Records

Some of the best genealogical tools available to family history researchers are census records. Not only can they tell you where your ancestors lived at different points in time, but they can tell you much more about them, their lives, and their families. While the information found in federal census forms varies a bit from decade to decade, here are some examples of the kind of information you may be able to...