Five Steps to Success: Developing a Genealogy Research Plan

Five Steps to Success: Developing a Genealogy Research Plan

Make 2006 a breakthrough year for your family tree quest with our tip-a-day research calendar.

Developing a genealogy research plan is the essential first step to making ancestral breakthroughs. Adapt this easy five-point strategy to suit your needs.

1. Set an objective. What do you want to learn—your ancestor’s marriage date? His spouse’s name? Where the couple was living in 1836? Be as specific as possible.

2. Note the facts. Record what you know from original documents and records. Include names and spelling variations, family relationships and dates of birth, death and marriage.

3. Develop a hypothesis. Make some guesses based on what you know. Estimate when your ancestors married, speculate on the spouse’s name, consider probable hometowns.

4. Seek your sources. Research which records will likely prove (or disprove) your hypothesis. Find out if they’re available, where and in what format. List all the options.

5. Take action. Decide the order in which you’ll seek the records, and how to get to them.
From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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