If you're wondering how to get started with your genealogy research- DRAW out your tree!! Having a visual sketch of your family tree will help you absorb and organize new information. As you will see from my examples, I am an avid family tree sketcher. There are so many ways to draw your family tree, each perspective is unique and can help identify new clues and relationships. You don't need any fancy tools...I use wrapping paper!
It must run in the family. These are 2 handwritten family trees found in the "box of old family stuff". These trees have given me so many amazing leads! ONE TIP: get credit for your hard work, leave your name and date somewhere on the tree! I don't know who wrote either of these trees, but I have passed them around to some family members for handwriting comparisons :) Someone in my family tree was interested in this great pursuit!
My Genealogy Charts- get inspired!
The first thing I do when I'm looking at a new family is sketch out their tree. This chart will be so much help for you while you're researching records. Expect to make mistakes, cross out information, and sometimes get confused...don't worry that's why you are drawing it out. A visual will give you some orientation. At first don't worry too much about making it pretty, you want it to be useful.
Refresh and redo
Once your first draft gets a little too busy, you might want to consider drawing a fresh copy. When I did this I created a coding system with different colored markers and symbols. This way I could fit more information and keep it looking organized. To get an idea of what I used for encoding vital information, click here.
Connect or Eliminate Leads
My grandfather, his grandfather, and his great grandfather all shared the name Joseph Kirkbride Wright. In an attempt to knock past a brick wall, my gggg grandfather Joel Wright born 1782, I tried to find a connection through this namesake. There was a well documented Joseph Kirkbride also from Burlington County, NJ with connections to Wright lines. I made this chart as I navigated through his family lines looking for a lead. For the most part this is a resource I can reference while I research new leads to see if I have already ruled out their connection to my line.
I made the chart below after researching a friends great grandfather. The witness on his naturalization shared the same last name, address, and was also a barber. After looking into this witness I found another male barber with the same surname living next door to the witness in the 1910 census record, another potential relative? I needed to work through the information to see all the connections. Work in progress.
Step outside the box! Look at your family from different perspectives, get creative, and start drawing out your family tree. *don't fold them like I did, roll up the paper to maintain your work!*