The Basics: A Guide
Keep Track of Sources
Last time I talked about how to get started on your family history. Before leaving that part I want to make a couple of comments. At all times make sure you keep track of the source of your information. If someone (or you yourself) ever want to check the information you will have to know from where it came. Your final information should be kept on proper forms. The information can then be easily photocopied and sent to others who are interested in your family history. If your local bookstore does not have any books on genealogy which include forms such as Pedigree or Ancestral Lineage charts, Family charts or Biographical and Historical charts, then ask at the nearest Family History Centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, also known as the Mormon Church). Call the local LDS church to see where the closest Family History Centre is located. One of the charts I mentioned above is the most important tool in your research, this is the pedigree chart.
To create a pedigree chart is very simple. You can use your own or purchase one from the above mentioned suppliers.
The pedigree chart is started with you as number 1. On the pedigree chart the only information necessary are birth/christening date, place of birth, date and place of marriage and if possible place and date of death. Your father becomes number 2 and your mother becomes number 3. Your paternal grandparents (father's parents) are number 4 and 5 and your maternal grandparents (mother's parents) become number 6 and 7. In that manner your paternal grandfather's parents become number 8 and 9, your paternal grandmother's parents become number 10 and 11, your maternal grandfather's parents are numbers 12 and 13 and your maternal grandmother's parents are numbers 14 and 15. You can also use these numbers to keep track of the persons in your files. These numbers are also used by computer genealogy software packages (for example, Personal Ancestral File, Brother's Keeper). These numbers are often referred to as Ahnentafel numbers.
The paternal line will have numbers such as 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512 and 1.024, etc. You can see that the number doubles for every generation. Most published genealogies in the Netherlands now use the period in numbers over one thousand. Most preprinted pedigree charts have room for only four or five generations. For each person at the end you start a new chart. Your number sixteen becomes the first one on the new chart but make sure you maintain your numbering, in other words the father of number 16 becomes number 32. At a glance you can tell for which ancestor you don't have any information. If you have any questions please send them to me in care of the Windmill.