Mesa Family History Center / Volunteer's Page

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Revision as of 18:29, 28 September 2011 by Jwharton12 (talk | contribs) (Added section titled Getting Started. Added information under the Heading "From the Internet")

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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 Family History Center's 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

Getting Started

The Mesa Family History Center 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.

British Isles:  England & WalesIreland / Scotland

Canadian:  Canada / Ontario / Quebec

Eastern European:  Tsarist Russia

German:  German

Immigration/Emigration:  Immigration before 1820 / Immigration after 1820

Land & Probate:  Individual to Individual / State Land to Individuals / Federal Government to Individuals / How to find Probate Records

LDS Records:  LDS Records

Military:  Revolutionary War / Civil War / Pre-20th Century Wars / 20th Century Wars

Native American/Hawaiian/African-American:  African-American / Native American / Hawaiian

Scandinavian: Denmark / Norway / Sweden & Finland / Scandinavia / Books at Mesa FHC / Other Tools

  • How to use Arkivalier
  • How to use Landsarkivet
  • How to use Dansk-Danmark
  • How to use DIS-Danmark
  • How to use Norway Maps
  • How to use Norway National Archives

Spanish: Spanish

Other Research Helps


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

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 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 theones 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.

Online Training

Classroom Training




See the Regional Family History Centers for information on all of the regional centers.
More information on Mesa, Arizona