Researching Ancestors

In the beginning…

I wanted to find information about my ancestors.  I was told some of them served in the military, but I did not know where to look…so where was I supposed start?   Do I look on line, read some genealogy book(s), talk to ‘Uncle Bob’, or what?  These are some of the statements and questions one might have before starting their search into their family lineage.  Indeed, these were some of my thoughts as I pondered what steps to take as I started my family search.

Here is how I got started:

I asked (and wrote the information on paper) my relatives what they knew about my ancestors. Facts are great, and special stories help you to ‘get to know’ that special family member long since gone.  Sometimes a relative has done some searching previously and might give you some great insights into the best ways they have found to find important family information. They might save you valuable time by already finding out facts, pictures, or stories and be willing to share their ‘finds’ with you. Contacting ‘Aunt Sarah’ or any other relative might not only help you to get access to previously unknown information, but might get you to know her or them better and help them get re-excited about doing their genealogical search!

I have visited counties and their designated ‘county seats’ to ascertain marriage bonds, wills, and other individual records. Yes, there will be some roadblocks and setbacks, but remember this little motto, “Don’t get discouraged and never give up”. Often these setbacks are just temporary.  Just keeping ‘digging’ and you will eventually strike a ‘gold mine’ of information.

Visiting cemeteries doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but often invaluable information is engraved on those old tombstones. A few times I had only a year of birth or death in my records, and by visiting the cemetery I have found an exact day or/and an exact month of these events.  Yes, once in a while even headstones are incorrect. That is why is always good to have as many sources to help confirm anything you might find.  Through the website –  many tombstone pictures and some genealogical information have been placed online.  This may help save a lot of time in your research, or it can open up a new direction to pursue!

Searching websites can also be helpful as more and more information is being made available on line. Many of these resources are free. Some websites do cost, such as and (which is now, but they can be extremely helpful. Previously unknown relatives have been found through ancestry trees and inquiries made on line. Also the 1940 US census is now available, but it has not been indexed. Hopefully it will be made easier to locate ancestors from the 1940 US census when the indexing is completed.

There are links on this blog to help get you started. You can contact someone at the SCV camp headquarters to help you if needed.  It is always good to have all the full names, dates and locations of birth and death, and where they lived, if known.

It is hoped there will be some more advice to help you on your ancestral quest in the near future. Happy Hunting!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. championhilz
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 08:48:29

    I saw that you are interested in the 24th Mississippi Infantry – I have a pretty complete list of sources on the regiment, if you would like me to send you a copy, just email me –


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