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Family History Overview: Step 4: Record results

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Step 4: Record your results

You have found information!

Document your research; you don't want to do it twice and you want to be able to find it again if necessary.

Begin by writing down everything you would need to find the information again:

  • For books: The title, author, page number and publication data.
  • For manuscripts: Call numbers and locations, collection titles, name of library or archives that owns the collection..
  • For censuses: The type of census, year, state, county, township, page number, etc.
  • For websites: The full address and title of the website and the database used.  Also include the url (specific web address) of the document you are citing.

Do this even if you make a photocopy of the record—you can record the source information on the photocopy.

Note the places and resources checked, even if you didn't find the fact there.

Write down the spelling variations you checked.

Analyze and evaluate the information that you have found.  Is it trustworthy or do you need to document it further?

Electronic storage

As you find information add it to your family tree.  As your family research grows, you might want to consider starting to record your family tree online. This will help in staying organized.

The internet holds unique opportunities to make an individual's family history research results available to others. Both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org make this service available on their databases.  

MNHS Reference Staff

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