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Genealogy Gazette

Volume 4, Number 21
Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369
December 12, 2012


Author's Notes
In this article we discuss how to go about your genealogy research from the perspective of a beginner. It is always good to start with the web, but you may need to travel to the area where your ancestor's lived to find out more information. Hopefully, you will find this information useful as you continue your genealogy quest.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at jimd@mountainpress.com. As always, we enjoy hearing the comments after each newsletter.

Thank you,
James L. Douthat
Mountain Press


Where Next???


One of the most usual questions asked when I go out to speak to a group is “Where can I go to find information?” It is hard to answer without knowing where the individual has been in the past. When I speak to beginners, it is much easier to answer. In fact, I am speaking on television in a few days and I prepared a sheet to give away to the audience. If this will help someone else, here it is.


1. Don’t expect a “free lunch” anywhere in your search from the web. There are free websites out there, but some may require you to join to continue receiving information. Here are a few to begin your journey:


2. After you have written down everything that you know about your ancestors and have tried the free websites. You are now ready to get down to business.

A. Start with the county records where your ancestors originated. Most counties have a society or some genealogical organization that will help. In most cases, there will be a great deal of information on these web sites and it is usually free.

B. Once you have explored the county[s] in question, then move on to the State records for that county. Most all State Archives have information posted that you can access freely. Even within the state, there might be some regional societies with information that is readily available.

C. Federal Records are also available. Normally, these are in the form of the census records. The census have been taken every ten years since 1790. The last one available for searching is the 1940. Ancestory.com says that this is completely indexed now, but it is not finished as yet.

3. When you have explored each of the above sites, you might want to go to www.cyndislist.com which is a website index to many sites for genealogical research. You do have to know the subject of interest when you go here. You cannot go to this site and request “Smith”. This will probably bring up all the Smith Counties or Rivers, etc. but not names.

4. Nothing beats the old fashion avenue of hard work and digging. It may mean you will have to travel to the home area to find some of the information. Even with all of the thousands of web sites out there for use by genealogist, only about 10% of all the data is on the web. This means that 90% of the information you want is still hidden in some book in the back of the Court House Vault or the attic of the local church or even in Great-Aunt Sally Sue’s closet. The search is the fun part of all of this research.

As always we love to hear your comments about how you prepare your research. We will pass it along and share with others who want to help the beginners and those who are advanced as well. We all need a little help along the way to get over-under-around our brick walls.

Happy Hunting!



Gift Ideas



Melungeons Yesterday and Today


Shelby County, TN Newspaper Abstracts through 1859

Rhea County in Old Newspapers 1809-1834


Montgomery County, VA - The First One Hundred Years

First Families of Bledsoe County, TN


The Story of the General

A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee

1890 Confederate Veterans Reunion


Memoir of Catharine Brown

History of Methodism in Tennessee




If you have any questions or suggestions for future editions, please email us at jimd@mountainpress.com.