How to Find Your Ancestors
There are a many ways you can track down your ancestors.
The way that is recommended below has three advantages:
You should begin by obtaining a copy of your own birth certificate. You can obtain your birth certificate from the State in which you were born by completing the appropriate application (most are available on the internet) and by paying the appropriate fee.
- It is simple,
- It is relatively inexpensive, and
- It yields tangible proof of who your ancestors REALLY are.
If you need a State of Virginia Birth Certificate, you may use either one of the two following links:
After you have a copy of your birth certificate, you will have the following information:
The next step is to order a copy of the birth certificate of each of your parents. Most states allow children to buy a copy of their parents' birth certificates for "genealogical purposes." After you have a copy of each of your parent's birth certificates, you will then know the names of all four of your grandparents.
- The name(s) of one or both of your parents.
- The age (or date of birth) of your parents when you were born.
- The state (and sometimes the city and/or county) where your parents were born.
You should then purchase a copy of the birth certificates of each of your four grandparents. You will then know the names of each of your eight great-grandparents. Unfortunately, this strategy will not work for very long. The reason is simple.
Birth certificates (also called records or documents) made their appearance in the United States shortly after the turn of the century in 1900. For example, official state birth certificates were first issued in each of the following states in the following years:
Prior to that time there was no standard procedure for recording births (or deaths). Most states followed whatever practice that seemed logical to them. Births were normally recorded in Family Bibles, Local Church Registers, or County Ledgers. There was no standard practice or procedure and each locality followed whatever custom that had been handed down to it by their predecessors.
Therefore, after you have obtained as much information as you can from birth certificates, you can then return to this web site (or other genealogical web sites) and continue your search by looking for the names of your oldest ancestors.
This web site is useful for two reasons.
The names in the master list will take you to the first page where that person's name first appears. On that page you will find a variety of information about the person, such as:
- It is free. You do not need to pay a fee (or register) in order to search the data files on this web site.
- It is focused. It does not contain information of everyone born in the United States. It contains data on people who were from a certain area of the United States. If you were directed to this web site by someone you know, then there is a reasonable chance you could find your ancestors here. However, you must take the first step by obtaining copies of your ancestors' birth certificates until that option is no longer available. Then return here and continue your search.
If you click on any underlined name on any web page, it will take you to that person's children.
- Birth and death dates.
- Names of brothers and/or sisters.
- Names of both parents.
- Names in the family tree of both parents.
If you wish to see more information about a person's parents, you will need to return to the master list and click on the name of the parent you wish to know about. That will reveal the above information about the parent's family.
After you have exhausted all the above options (and other internet genealogy web sites), you might try the Main County Library in the county in which your ancestors were born. Many County Libraries have a Local History Section that contains Census Data and Genealogy Materials donated to the library by people who have done research on their ancestors who were born in that county.
The Genealogy Home Page
If you have a question, please click on the following link::
Send e-mail to RobertWayneAtkins@grandpappy.info