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Reading, 'riting & Roots
9/1/2004
Don't know where to start? A basic geneaology can nudge you over that intimidating beginner's hurdle. Here's how to find low- and no-cost lessons for the newbie family historian.
 A few years ago, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County <www.cincinnatilibrary.org> librarian Karen Beiser had just finished teaching a class on beginning African-American genealogical research, when one of her students picked up an index to the Black Biography collection. "She randomly opened it and gasped," recalls Beiser. "There was the name of an ancestor she'd been looking for — staring at her, right from that page." Was it a coincidence? Luck?

You might not get results that immediate in a beginning genealogy class, but you will get the skills you need to create your own genealogical luck. Basic family history classes are widely available and range from hourlong crash courses to multisession programs complete with homework. Sign up for one, and you'll learn about pedigree charts and family group sheets, commonly used resources and ways to find them, source citation, genealogy software, organization and interviewing relatives. You can form a support system of fellow ancestor hunters, and you'll definitely gain confidence in your research skills. Before yon know it, you'll be hoisting yourself over those brick walls. Here's where to get educated.

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