A statement that is frequently made among those who search the records of history looking for that all important clue is “If you can prove it, it’s Genealogy, if you can’t, it’s Mythology”. When you begin your Genealogy be sure to document everything. Therefore, a good filing system will be necessary. There are many ways you can organize your files, and the Kinfolk Detective suggests Alphabetically. Starting with your master family files and continuing with the individual files within you master family file.
With each individual file you should have, if you can locate them, the following evidence:
Birth Certificate or equal – (equivalent could be baptismal).
Immigration papers – if the individual is immigrating from another country.
Census records showing residence – A Federal census is completed every ten years.
Marriage Certificate or equal.
Will or Probate records
In the Kinfolk Detective’s perspective, a census is the easiest place to start. A federal census can show a lot of good information including current location, name of every person in the household, a description of age, sex, and color, profession or occupation of each, value of estate owned- both real estate and personal, place of birth, both parents place of birth, if they are able to read and write, and the last year of school they attended.
Now that you have all of this information, you can make some associations and assumptions. Foremost where did they come from. The names of brothers, sisters and parents. When you can compare census’ you may see a brother that might have disappeared. Did he marry? Is he now the head of his own household? Did he die from an injury in a war? Your dates are important as they can give you clues. In the 1700’s and 1800’s many men married young. If a seventeen or eighteen year old disappeared, its quite possible that he married or moved away with his wife’s family. If there was a war within the ten years its possible he was killed in the war. Sometimes you must think outside of the box to find your answers.
Many of the above documents can give you information and hints to your next subjects, their parents and siblings.