About Genealogy Research
- Review Online tutorials and guides
- Consult books and articles
- Attend Workshops and Conferences
- Join Genealogical Societies
Getting Started page from National Genealogical Society
Beginning Your Genealogy Research - The Basics, from the USGenWeb Project
How to get started in Genealogy, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
Palaeography: reading old handwriting 1500 - 1800: A practical online tutorial, from The National Archives of the U.K.
Finding Your Ancestors, online course (free, but requires registration)
Genealogy Learning Center from Genealogy.com
Genealogy Classes, free online classes on beginning genealogy, internet genealogy, and tracing immigrant origins.
Where to Begin, Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees
If your research seems to hit a dead-end or poses a tough problem, you can often find other paths by learning how others solved their research problems. Here are some online resources that may provide some ideas and answers.
- Ancestry's video on Brick Wall Busters
- Links to beginners tips on Cyndi's List
- Links from the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)
Consult books and articles about what records are available, where they can be found, and steps in the genealogical research process. Here are the names of some books you may find in your local library or bookstore. (Please note: these are not endorsed by the National Archives. They are mentioned here as possibly helpful resources.)
- Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. The Genealogist's Address Book, 4th edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.
- Crandall, Ralph J. Shaking Your Family Tree. Dublin, NH: Yankee Publishing, 1986.
- Croom, Emily A. Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy. Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 1995.
- Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990.
- Jacobus, Donald Lines. Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968. Reprint, 1991.
- Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
- Rubincam, Milton. Pitfalls in Genealogical Research. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1987.
- Stryker-Rodda, Harriet. How to Climb Your Family Tree. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977. Reprint, 1993.
- Szucs, Loretto D., and Sandra H. Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Revised edition. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1997
Read Journal Articles
The following can be found in libraries with a large genealogical collection, or you may be able to purchase back issues from the societies that published them.
We provide workshops to help people learn how to use historical documents when conducting genealogical research. See our list of upcoming workshops and the annual Virtual Genealogy Fair.
National, regional, and local genealogical societies also often hold workshops and conferences geared towards beginning genealogists.
You can also order professionally-recorded cassette tapes of lectures from previous national and regional genealogy conferences. These cover the vast array of genealogical research topics, and many are geared to the beginner.
In addition to sponsoring workshops, other help is also available through genealogical societies. Most publish newsletters and other materials describing genealogical research and services in the area. Many also have libraries and other helpful resources. You may find it helpful to join both your local genealogical society as well as those where your ancestors lived.
To find a genealogical society in North America, you can search by state/province from the Federation of Genealogical Societies web site or contact the National Genealogical Society.
Other web site that may assist you in locating local societies are:
U.S. Genealogy sites state by state
Historical and Genealogical Societies of the United States
Directory of Genealogy Libraries in the U.S.