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
Help for Genealogy Researchers and
Getting Started 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)
Ancestors, Beginning your Search, companion web site to PBS Ancestors series.
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.
- Ancestors: Tips and Tricks, from the PBS companion web site to Ancestors series.
- 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
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
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
Genealogical and Historical Societies listing their publications for sale online
Historical and Genealogical Societies of the United States
Directory of Genealogy Libraries in the U.S.