How to look for information about your family!
1. Subscribe to the county of interest Mailing list! There are a couple of hundred people currently available online right now. There are researchers that have been working on their family history for many years in Marengo County. Families cross surnames through marriage and goodness knows that each family history has many surnames! Click here The page is self explained.
Ask your question to the mailing list once you subscribe, it doesn't cost anything to subscribe. You are not obligated to stay on the mailing list if you don't want to either. The above web page gives you instructions on how to subscribe and unsubscribe. It's really easy.
When posing a question to the mailing list: Give the researchers something to work with beside just giving a name, how about dates of birth-death? How about a spouse's name? Or how about where the person lived in Marengo County, the county is huge when you are talking about an individual person over a hundred years ago. Give the researchers a break and try to give as much information as possible about the person/persons you are seeking information about.
2. Look up surnames on the available list of folks doing research! Check out this site for surnames you are looking for: Click here: Or check out the page that gives you multiple options for surname listings and query sites at: Click here.
3. Post a Query. This is actually pretty easy too. Click Here. Once you get to the page, Look for the box that says VIEW MESSAGE TYPE and click the arrow pointing down on the right.
When the window drops down you will see the following options:
|Put your mouse on Query and then click, This eliminates all other postings and just displays Queries. Folks monitor this site often. This is a good way to get in touch with people researching around the county. You do have the option to look at other categories, however most of those are available at the main website so folks don't post a lot here. There are a lot of current obits listed here. Bible items, cemeteries, census, marriages and the "look up" are on the main page at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~almareng/.||
|You also have the option to post helpful information here and help others. The entire rootsweb system is based on volunteers that SHARE information. You may have a Biography, or Immigration information.. Maybe you have a Deed or Death Certificate and you want to share. Please follow the forms and share what you have. The internet doesn't have a lot of information because folks DON'T share and EXPECT others to do all the work. You can also look up obits here, When you see "info provided by obit" in the cemetery listings, you can view the obit here. This is where the information came from.|
If you want to put yourself in touch with folks from around the country and post or look for queries on a particular surname Click here. Select the first letter of the last name you are looking for and you will see postings from folks working on that surname.
4. Develop Your Strategy : If you are unclear about how to get started (it doesn't hurt to review if you have been searching for awhile either). Click here. Some folks have already put their family history online. They are in the form of what is called a GEDCOM. You can view those at: Click here
5. Doing your own RESEARCH. Please don't expect others to do all of your research for you. Don't expect folks to give you everything in their data base! Genealogy is a hobby and some folks have spent years on their family history. Some of us won't give away the farm especially when we've been burned too many times and not gotten anything in return (not even a thank you). We don't mind helping you but your family history is totally up to you. It is also your responsibility to verify every bit of information you get from anyone at anytime. The way to do that is: Click here. There are RESEARCH CENTERS around the country. Find one closest to you and help yourself. You can order microfilm, you can copy marriage certificates and census records for the cost of a copy (as little as 25 cents per copy). It's free to look at records and a minimal cost to order films for a few weeks of viewing. You would need to go in person, there are volunteers working in the research centers but they are there to guide you. There just aren't enough people in these centers to do all of YOUR work for you.
Also check your local library if you are located in a city of size. You may be very surprised to find they carry census information on microfilm or they have access to ordering census, probate and other "early" documents on microfilm including newspapers. Sometimes the information you are looking for is right in your own backyard or you can access it from there. It might simply be a matter of asking. The Alabama Archives (ADAH) will loan out microfilm to libraries or research centers if they have microfilm readers. You can go to the ADAH website and find out what is available on microfilm as well as other loan or purchase information.
You can order marriage certificates from the Alabama Archives( ADAH) if a research center is NOT convenient to your location. Verify information. If you have conflicting information, order the documents. Even family bible records, headstones and family rumor needs to verified. Sorry, humans make mistakes and shared information can be a little off. It happens. It's not done to make you crazy, records are posted by humans and they make mistakes. Family members are only so reliable and guess what? Families in every shape, creed or status HAVE SECRETS. There's a lot of so-called embarassing situations (time and attitudes have only recently changed in the last 25 years, think back how narrow our thinking was 50 years ago!) . Some things families just didn't talk about for whatever reason. Families have mountains of issues that just don't get discussed. It's up to you to dig up the information. If you just can't get past the idea of putting in what it takes to do the job, whip out your checkbook or credit card and HIRE a professional genealogist.
6. Where to dig hard: County libraries, courthouses, churches, and local county newspapers can be goldmines of information. Turn every stone when you get stuck. Search Alabama online. Search library addresses online. Travel to the county and take your camera. Plan your trip carefully. Make sure you avoid wasting your time by getting addresses before you leave your town and travel to another county in another state. Go to Yahoo and look up the destination in the yellow pages. If you want to contact a church....LOOK UP THE ADDRESS ONLINE! You have the entire country at your fingertips, help yourself. If you need a map, you have access to that too with Yahoo maps.
Good luck and HELP YOURSELF. The information is there, it's up to you to tap in and make it happen!