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Principles of Family History Research Gotoarrow.png Step 1. Identify What You Know Gotoarrow.png Recall Information


Recall information about yourself and your family. Write down (or type) your name, birth date, birthplace, marriage date, marriage place, spouse, and the children’s names and dates and places of their births, marriages, or deaths.

Recall similar information about each prior generation (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and others.)

Try to recall both vital event and biographical information. See the following box.

Types of Genealogical Information

Types of Genealogical Information

Vital event information can uniquely identify a person as distinct from any other person. It is generally compiled on family group records and pedigree charts. It includes—

  • Names. The complete name, including given or first names and the last or surname for—
The person.
Father and mother.
Spouse (husband or wife).
All children.

  • Gender.
  • Dates and places of—
Birth (and/or christening)
Death (and/or burial)

  • Relationships (to spouse, children and parents)

When you cannot find all of this information about every ancestor, you may need to calculate or estimate dates and places of birth, marriage, and death.

Biographical information gives additional information about a person’s life, such as:

  • Religious beliefs
  • Religious events such as confirmation
  • Latter-day Saint ordinance dates
  • Purchase of property
  • Employment information
  • Dates of immigration and naturalization
  • Migration to other places
  • Social and economic status
  • Military service
  • Education and other accomplishments
  • Ethnic group
  • Participation in community, social and historical events
  • Naming practices
  • Family traditions
  • Cause of death

Often you need biographical information to identify which records have the genealogical information you need. In such cases, biographical information is essential, not optional!

Consider the value of recording your family's medical hsitory. You may want to see the tutorial video on FamilySearch Learning Center, '"Ancestors Season 1: Your Medical Heritage"'.


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  • This page was last modified on 28 August 2014, at 18:34.
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