Principles of Family History Research
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Genealogical or family history research is the process of searching records to find information about your relatives and using those records to link individuals to earlier and later generations.
This article describes a process for doing genealogical and family history research. In addition to following a process, research includes knowing about the different types of records that have the information you seek. For discussions of specific records to use in your research, see the "Topics" on this wiki for the country, state or province of interest. You may also find information about records in the genealogical handbooks.
This article is intended for persons who are interested in learning more about family history research. For a brief overview of the research process, see A Guide to Research.
Table of Contents
- Use Appropriate Forms
- Recall Information
- Gather Family Information
- Gather Low-Hanging-Fruit Sources
- Record Useful Information
- Organize Your Records
- Identify Candidate Families for Further Research
- One Family at a Time
- One Research Objective at a Time
- Select the Easiest Research Objective
- Prepare a Research Log
- Identify a Category of Sources
- Choose a Record Type
- Select Specific Records
- Describe the Records on a Research Log
- Obtain the Records
- View the Records
- Search the Records
- Record the Results
- Evaluate the Evidence
- Transfer the Information
- Organize the New Records
- Share the Information
- Mormon Genealogy
- Restart the Research Cycle
Using This Article
This article explains the basic steps of the research process. Figures illustrate the text while blue boxes provide important background information. Key points (maxims) are highlighted. A short bibliography of books about research methods under “For Further Reading” is at the end of this outline. The appendix includes a useful summary diagrams of the research process and record types.