You have your list of names, places and dates and you’ve collected some of the family stories. Now what?
As I mentioned in a previous posting, your local library or genealogical
society can be a great help. Perhaps you can’t get there just yet.
What can you do?
Some states have vital records – birth, marriage and death records –
available to view online. The years may be limited for a variety of
reasons – loss of records, to help prevent identity theft – but you can
still gather a lot of great information.
Look for the Social Security Death Index. You can often find birth and death dates by searching the SSDI.
Check your library’s online databases. Some databases can be used from
outside the library. If there is a genealogy or newspaper database, you
have a wonderful resource to use.
Speaking of newspapers – many recent obituaries are now online. You can
find a lot of information from an obituary. The person’s parents’
names, his birthdate and place, his death date and place, names of
spouse and children (and sometimes children’s spouses and their
children). Usually an obituary will list where the person worked, what
school she attended and community groups in which she participated.
These are just a few of the free resources available online. There are
many others that cost money. I have been doing genealogy for nearly 25
years and I started paying for a subscription for an online database
only six months ago. For many years I used the database through the
library. This was great…until I wanted to do more research from the
comfort of my couch.