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family history research

Would you like to explore your own family's past? The goal can be to merely produce a family tree or a comprehensive historical record in the form of a book. Regardless, genealogies are gathered through the study of:

  • City records - birth and death certificates
  • Libraries and archives
  • School records
  • Federal census records
  • Court documents
  • Old cemeteries
  • Church records
  • Family bibles and photo albums
  • Social Security Administration records
  • Military records
  • Genealogy Internet sites
  • Membership organization records

The best place to start is through your own family sources. Family reunions are the perfect setting for that. Genealogy can become a rewarding hobby. Here are a few sources to get you going on your genealogy search. Also see more resources.

Create a Family Tree

Make genealogy a participative activity at your family reunion. Place a large diagram of a tree on a flat surface. Ask family members to fill in the "branches" with their full names and birth dates. Also ask older relatives to fill in branches for their parents and grandparents.

With everyone participating, including senior citizens with good memories, your family tree should cover four or five generations . . . or more. That's an excellent start for establishing a genealogy.

As a keepsake of the event, you can distribute copies of the family tree (reduced in size) to everyone who attends. For even greater appeal, take a close-up photo of everyone and include those photos in your family tree.

Oral Histories

Interview older attendees and save family stories for posterity on audiocassette, CD-ROM or videotape. 




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1 May 2004 . 13 Mar 2009
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African American Family Reunion Planning Guide