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LIBRARY & ARCHIVES - Genealogy Basics
 
  Genealogy is the quest to find ones ancestors. Before planning a trip to a research facility, it is best to begin the journey with yourself. Using a pedigree chart or family group sheet, record all vital information about you and your immediate family, i.e. births, marriages and deaths, as well as where the event took place. Include your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Interview family members and family friends, asking not only what they know but suggestions of whom to contact. It is these conversations that may lead to a previously unknown family bible, a photo album or a scrapbook. Family traditions and/or oral histories can be a wonderful source of information, but note that, just as with any source, it is only as accurate as the author.

Next, determine the record keeping criteria of the municipality where your family lived. The recording of vital statistics varies from one municipality to another, whether on the county or state level. Pennsylvania did not record births and deaths until 1906 and York County began recording marriages in 1885. Prior to these dates, one must consult other sources, such as church records, newspaper obituaries and cemetery tombstone abstractions to fill in missing information.


 
 
 
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