Mesa Family History Center / Volunteer's Page
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The intended purpose for this page is to address the need of anyone new to family history or has been doing family history for years but need assistance with research, use of internet sites and "how-to" organization. This is an online resource. You could call it "One Stop Shopping" as this will be the only page you need to remember. This article provides links for access to the Mesa FamilySearch Library tools, tips and aids.
Who should use this page?
Anyone who has an interest in family history research. This site is one method for locating ancestors, organizing and saving your files to a removable storage device and includes links to online training courses, classroom training and many other things to aid you in your journey.
Start with yourself - then work backwards through one generation at a time
This is your key to success. Work back from yourself, generation by generation linking each person and the source information/documentation to the record. Start with any family papers or stories you may have or interview older family members. You may have to record this interview and transcribe it to paper later. This can be a valuable resource. Use family records, papers and photographs as the foundation on which you build your research.
After you have gathered information from family sources, the next step is to locate public documents referring to your ancestor.
- These may include birth, marriage or death certificates which are completed by the civil authorities and which record details of these events and other related information.
- Wills, newspaper obituaries, local histories, pension and military records are all potential sources of information which can help provide information to assist in your search. This information is also of value in itself, of course, insofar as it can give background and colour to your ancestor.
Blank Charts and Templates
Charts and Templates may be printed or stored on your personal storage device.
Analysis Sheet - This sheet may be used to log the information you already know
Pedigree Chart - This chart may be used to record four generations
Family Group Sheet - This sheet may be used to capture all of the information for one family
Research Log - This log may be used to record resources you have searched and the results
Survey Sheet - This sheet may be used to record generation information and searches performed
Other Useful Charts and Templates
US Census Summary Chart - May be used to record information from a census
Document Extract - May be used to log vital information from a document (ie. obituary, military record...)
Internet Resource Log - May be used to log names and urls of useful internet sites
Search in Probate Calendars - May be used to log probate information found in the calendars
Checklist for recording probate records - May be used to log probate record information.
The Mesa FamilySearch Library has formed specialty committees that work on various research sources such as British Isles, African-American, Hispanic, Military, Native American and LDS Records just to name a few. Each of these committees are genealogical experts that have worked together to provide "Quick Starts" to assist you in your research.
Eastern European: Tsarist Russia
LDS Ancestor Research: LDS Records
- How to use Arkivalier (Danish National Archives)
- How to use Landsarkivet (Swedish)
- How to use Dansk-Danmark (Danish Census, Emigration, Immigration, & probate records)
- How to use DIS-Danmark (Danish County-District Parishes & Maps of Counties)
- How to use Norway Maps (Norwegian Maps of Counties & Communes)
- How to use Norway National Archives (Censuses 1801, 1865, 1875, 1900)
From the Internet
Family Tree Charts - Other types of pedigree charts
Relationship Chart - How to find out your relationship to someone else in your family
Online Public Libraries These libraries have free online resources open to the public:
(When using an online library, you may find research request details. Read procedures and the fees if any, will be spelled out in that document)
Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana, burial records, naturalizations, poor asylum reg)
Boston Public Library (Index of obituaries in Boston newspapers, 1953-2010)
Brooklyn Public Library (View historic photos and digital images [Brooklyn Daily Eagle] 1841-1902)
Cleveland Public Library (View death & cemetery records from 1800s to 1975)
Houston Public Library (Index of funeral home and death records for early to mid-20th century)
La Crosse Public Library (indexes of cemeteries, obituaries, births, marriages and divorces)
New York Public Library (Images of historic photographs and many historic collections)
St. Louis Public Library (Obituary index from St. Louis Post Dispatch 1880-1925 & 1942-1945)
A helpful site for tracking down libraries is lib-web-cats.
Paperless Organization Tips and Tools
A method for storing information on your computer, your removable storage device or a family website. In all three storage methods you must always have a backup. The backup should be done weekly, monthly or maybe another time period depending on how often you are accessing and updating it.
There are many ways to store your information. Please see examples below;
- Computer Hard Drive - This method may be used if you do not have a need for portability.
- Flash Drive or Removeable Storage Device - This method may be used if you have a need for portability.
- Combination of Computer Hard Drive and Flash Drive - This is a best practice for backing up your family history data. Work from the Computer's internal hard drive and back up your files to the Flash Drive or vice-versa.
See attached pdf file named: My Ancestors for options on creating folders and suggestions for what should be in the folders.
Finally, the most important thing to remember is that you need to find what you have stored. The options listed are just that, thoughts and ideas about how to organize your family history files. You may choose to use one of those listed, a mix of these or even another method all together. Family History File Storage should be organized in a way that works for you.
Research Tracks for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Family History enthusiasts is found on the FamilySearch WIKI. Please visit this page if you need training on how to get started tracing your family in other countries, vital records, military and much more.
The Mesa Arizona Family History Center provides resources online as well. These are referred to in the "Getting Started" section of this WIKI.
Online Tutorials / Webinars that are free from:
Ancestral Quest - There are 15 twelve minute segments for a total of 1.5 hours.
Roots Magic - Online classes on how to use the program. Each class is 40-90 minutes long.
Legacy - Video Training or Webinars on using Legacy and how-tos for researching specific countrys, ethnic groups and more..
The Mesa Arizona Family History Center provides classroom training for learners. The class schedules are published monthly on the www.mesafsl.org website. From the home page please select Class Schedules.
Mesa FamilySearch Library:
Catalog - This link allows you to search for books, film, fiche, maps, and CDs located in the Mesa FamilySearch Library.
States Record Finder - Use this table to help you decide which records to search. It is most helpful for post-1800 research in the United States.
Census - This Wiki page provides links to various sites where the censuses may be searched, the key value for the census and many more related links.