You can enter the exciting world of genealogy by following some basic guidelines. Before you begin, consider purchasing our publication, A Research Guide for Norwegian Genealogy. This informative book provides excellent hints on how to overcome some of the quirks of Norwegian-American genealogy.
Start with yourself
The first step is to start with what you know about yourself. Begin working backwards one generation at a time. Write down what you know and are able to verify for yourself: birth date and place, marriage date and place. Do the same for your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Add the death date and place of death, if applicable.
Record Your Discoveries
There are many options for helping you store and organize the information you collect. You can record your family history information on paper, using desktop software, or an online platform.
To begin, complete a pedigree chart for your ancestors. You will be #1 on this chart, your father #2, mother #3, father’s father #4, father’s mother #5, mother’s father #6, mother’s mother #7. Men always have a number that is double their child, and mothers are always double the child plus one.
Family group sheets are for recording information about all members of a family, not just your ancestors. This includes collateral relatives like aunts, uncles and cousins. Work backwards from there, filling out family group sheets for the husband’s and wife’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. This will help you record an entire family’s information as a unit.
Good Genealogical Practices
There are some conventions for recording information that are good habits to form to avoid confusion.
- Record maiden names for all women.
- Use proper capitalization.
- Record dates by spelling out at least part of the month (April 12, 1923, or 12 Apr 1923, etc.).
- Use four digit years.
- Record place names starting from the smallest location to the largest: city, township, county, state, and country for U.S. locations.
- For clarity, avoid abbreviations.
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