Carolyn Earle Billingsley's Web Site

Quick Guide to Family History Research

Whether youíre just a beginner or you need a refresher course in the basics, this lecture covers all the essentials. It will take you step by step through the process of genealogical research and demonstrate the proper standards of research.

Intended Audience:

Summary of presentation:

This lecture is the constantly updated presentation Iíve been using for over twenty years at a local and regional level (and in my college courses) to introduce beginners to the basics of proper research. Based largely on the best-selling and critically acclaimed Beginnerís Guide to Family History Research, by Carolyn Earle Billingsley and Desmond Walls Allen (Conway, Ark.: Arkansas Research; now online free at , it presumes nothing about the knowledge level of the student and, thus, starts with the simplest terms and concepts.

From home and family sources, to digging through attics and graveyards, it then leads the audience to libraries and archives, armed to do their research with the proper tools and knowledge. It covers all the basics, from how to fill out a pedigree chart and family group sheets, to collecting images of people, places, and things (including maps) to add enhance a family history. This lecture also covers using online sources, including, and genealogy computer programs such as Family Tree Maker.

The major stresses are on citing oneís sources properly, acquiring or using the basic books and guides, and putting oneís genealogy in historical context, with the final goal a written family history. The web site online (cited above) is always available for studentís to review the major points, although the lecture is not a recreation of the book.

Moreover, Iíve found many genealogists who have been doing genealogy for years are receptive to this lecture as a refresher course and as a reminder of the basic standards of doing genealogy well.