Citing the source of information.....
Be sure to evaluate the source of your information then link that source to your documents. Example: you have obtained a copy of a birth certificate from a courthouse. At the very least, attach the courthouse name and address by some means to the birth certificate. And, always remember, you can't believe everything you read! When you obtain information (especially on the internet) track that information yourself. Find out where it originated and prove or disprove it's reliability.
To learn more about citing the sources, see the following books:
Cite Your Sources by Richard Lackey
Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian
by Elizabeth Shown Mills
You can obtain these books from your library or from genealogy websites which sell genealogy aids or on-line bookstores. (see "Contacts" page on this site for addresses)
I will always have many good memories of researching the Kelly family with my father, but the one that always comes back to me is remembering how my father had told me repeatedly that his mother's family (Kelly) had lived in Dewitt County at one time. He thought it was back in the 1800's.
One day I happened to be in Cuero (Dewitt County) and had a few extra minutes, so I swung by the courthouse just check out what was there. When I opened up those birth records, I felt a chill run up the back of my neck, for there were five births for our Kellys starting in 1885.
Needless to say, I ran for the phone in my car to call my father: "Daddy, they were here in the 1880's and we can prove it." He was as excited a I was and we both were almost in tears and I remember him saying "go back and see what else is there". My errands forgotten, I spent the remainder of that day in the courthouse finding many records and have made many subsequent trips since then. But, nothing will ever compare to that first day.
One other thing stands clear in my memory: the day my husband and I found the gravesite of my great, great grandmother Sarah Sylvesta (Knowles) Kelly Carter not 10 miles from our home. As I stood beside the place where she and three of her children are buried, I was in awe and I could only wonder what their lives were like back in the early 1800's.
These are the kinds of breakthroughs that keep us going on this quest for our ancestors. My wish is for you to find the joy of knowing about your roots and that you will be the person who will pull all those records and history of your family together.
A GOOD PLACE TO START.....
.....is to talk to your older relatives concerning the family history you are interested in. It is important to do this now before those older relatives are gone and you are the older relative.
1. Record their comments on paper or on a recorder.
2. Before you begin: date your notes or recording, write or record the name of the person you are interviewing and your name, write or record the place of the interview.
.....obtain a Family Group Sheet or Pedigree Chart and write down any names, dates, places, etc. for each person in the family including yourself. (printable forms are available from many of the genealogy websites like Ancestry.com) Don't forget to record the source for each piece of information. Create a file or use a binder to store these and keep them in order.
WHILE YOU ARE COLLECTING INFORMATION.....
try to obtain relavant photos from people you talk to. Offer to have a copy of the photo made or do anything else you can to obtain the photo. Photos are important to your history as are original documents such as birth, marriage and death records.