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Genealogy for Beginners

For Beginners

Designed by Ray Viverette

The Purpose of this Site

Genealogy is a fascinating hobby. For the serious researcher, it involves trips to archive buildings, court houses, cemeteries, church records, and the list goes on and on. The Internet has added a new dimension to the search for family information. Now, if a person knows how and where to look, he can have rapid access to family histories.

The purpose of this site in to aid the beginning genealogist in making the best use of the Internet to gather family information. Most of the information comes from personal experience in researching my own family tree. With no one to guide me, I "surfed the net" looking for family and finally making those valuable connections which have made it possible for me to assemble the most comprehensive data base in the country on my family. I then have shared my findings on the Internet at various sites to aid other family members in their quest for information on our ancestors.

Now, if you've got lots of money you can pay someone to research your family for you. Or you can subscribe to one of the many genealogy sites who sell their information to the public. For a fee, they'll let you search their data bases for your ancestors. Sometimes you'll get lucky and find your whole family; however, many simply hit a dead end and become discouraged, not only because they didn't find an ancestor but also because they spent their hard earned money for a service which proved useless. This site is designed to help you conduct your search free of charge.

Step 1: What Do You Already Have?

You obviously have family information back to some point. If your parents are living, they can tell the names and dates of their parents. Family Bibles also contain valuable information on your lineage. Another great asset is the family members in their golden years. Older members of my family gave me names of relatives I'd never met who gave me extremely helpful information when I contacted them. It may be that someone in your family has already compiled a book on your family.
Here's a site for beginners.
Fundamentals of Genealogy

This is also a good site:
Family Tree Maker's How-to Page

Step 2: See What's Available

Now that you have a starting point, Step 2 involves searching the Internet to see what's available on your ancestor. The following sites have millions of names and thousands of family trees sent in by researchers around the world. Their search engines are relatively easy to use, usually requiring you to just type the name of the person you're looking for or the family name. The more specific you can get the name the more likely you'll get a direct hit. For example, if you type in John Smith, you'll get too many hits to examine. If you type in John Ebenezer Smith, your search will be a little less complicated.

The first link is the Mormon Church Genealogy Site. This is one of the best genealogy search sites on the Internet.
Morman Church Genealogy Search Site

The next site is located at Researchers all over the world upload data files to this site for families to use.

Search 700 Million Names at!

The next search site is at Ultimate Family Tree, a genealogy software maker with an excellent engine to search the Internet.
Ulimate Family Tree Search Site

Rootsweb is another excellent search site.
Search Rootsweb

The Social Security Death Index will give you names of family members who have died and whose families filed for the Social Security death benefit. This site will give you the birth and death dates along with the residence of the person you are seeking. If you have a common name like Smith or Jones, be sure to do an advanced search.
Social Security Death Index

You can find all of these and many more on my family web site.

Viverette-Fisher Research Center

General Internet Search Engines

There are several general search engines that will look all over the Internet for specific names. If you type in a last name, you may get hundreds or even thousands of hits using one of these search engines. To limit your search, try to learn the way that particular engine searches for phrases or names with several words. Just typing Smith in any search engine will generate instant results. Unfortunately, you'll get over 10,000 hits on each search engine, way too many to be useful. With many search engines by placing "quotation marks" around an entire name such as "John Elijah Smith," you will instruct the engine to look for those three names together as one expression rather than randomly looking up all three words separately.
Here are some of my favorite search engines.

Alta Vista


Search WWW Search Search

Links to Genealogy Sites

There are thousands of genealogy links on the Internet. You can spend hours clicking and looking for just the right site. These two sites below are indexes of genealogy sites. Cindi's List is considered one the best sources for genealogy sites on the Internet. Sharkey's Genealogy Links also has an extensive index of genealogy sites.

Cyndi's List

Sharkey's Genealogy Links

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