Clifford Harper, age 4, 1920
What is the first step you should do when beginning genealogy research? Talk to your mom and dad, grandparent, Aunts and Uncles! I would give anything to be able to talk with my dad and Uncle Bernum and my Grandpa Turner. They were a well of information! So, ask questions now, rather than regret not getting what they know on your family.
The next step is to write this information down. Fill out a Family Group Chart on each sibling of a line.
This is an important form to have on each family member. It lists the husband, full name, place of birth, baptized, marriage dates and places. You can download this form from the following links:
The best link is Rootsweb, Family Group Chart
But you can also find some here as well, Family Group Charts/Pedigree Chart
These charts are very important, especially for the current generation, you know, those younger people you see at the reunions and don't have a clue as to who they are and who they're attached to.
My mom had the foresight to write down illnesses, addresses where we lived, it never occurred to me to keep up with the actual addresses where I've lived. I can tell you I lived at Henagar, Alabama, but not the house address.
I found out though my Aunt Maune that my dad's great aunt was blind. I found out through my Aunt Nell that one of my great uncles had a cleft lip and palate; another one had a hernia. I had always wondered why they never got married, the uncles, that is. Once I had that information, they also told me that their dad, my great grandfather didn't take them to a doctor for medical treatment. Before you get upset, just remember, this was rural country, during the depression, so most likely they didn't have the money to spend on surgery and hospitals. But that little nugget of information explained so much. As for the great aunt being blind, when I first started researching, I noticed that Torah lived first with her parents, then other relatives, and finally with a brother. She also never married. During her lifetime, though, being blind, meant that she had to rely upon family, after all, there wasn't Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind to teach her how to live alone or receive an education. There wasn't assisted living for her to have a fairly normal life. Her lifestyle would have been very restrictive. Knowing this opened up a window into her life.
So, download and print off these charts and ask questions!