Search all of your family storage areas, in and out, from top to bottom of the home. Include the attic, storage closets, basements, garage, trunks, safe, deposit boxes, and so forth. Encourage your relatives to make similar searches in their storage areas.
Your second cousin, great-aunt, or other relative may already have gathered some family information. Most families have at least one relative who keeps track of cousins’ birthdays, anniversaries, or deaths. Learn who that relative is. When information is found, offer to pay for the cost of photocopying and postage.
We can gather the family history information others in our family have already prepared by:
• Asking our family members if they have any written information about the family, including ancestral maps, ancestral books, letters, stories, family group records, pedigree charts, school records, certificates, pictures, and artifacts such as wood carvings, tapa designs, etc.
• Ask if you may have a copy of what they have.
Be sure to ask your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, other relatives and friends of the family for help in finding. If there have been multiple marriages, be sure to ask members or descendants of those unions. They just might have the very letter, document, book, or story for which you are searching.
- Certificates of birth, marriage, and death
- Wills, deeds, and property records
- Military service and pension documents
- Naturalization documents
- Medical records
- Licenses (business, marriage, fishing, driving)
- School records
- Insurance policies
Books and Albums
- Family Bibles
- Scrapbooks and albums
- Baby and wedding books
- Books of Remembrance
- Photograph Albums
- Journals and diaries
- Personal histories and biographies
- Letters and cards
Printed Notices and Announcements
- Newspaper clippings and obituaries
- Announcements of births, weddings, and anniversaries
- Programs (award ceremonies, funerals)
- Family reunion notices and records
- Religious records
- Fraternal or society records
- Occupational awards