How to Guess Where to Start

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Family History for Beginners Gotoarrow.png How to Guess Where to Start

Well-done genealogies must be documented with the best sources skillfully analyzed. No guesswork can be allowed in the final product. But in order to find the best sources a kind of trial-and-error activity (guessing) is sometimes used. The best researchers become skillful at assessing information, evaluating clues, and selecting sources and repositories they will try. This article teaches how to choose among uncertain prospects well. Always remember that any guesswork eventually must be replaced by careful analysis of well-documented sources.

Learn to guess names, places, dates, the best event in a person’s life to research first, and how to guess sources for that event. (beginning family history, beginning genealogy, beginning research, getting started, starting family history, starting genealogy, starting research, how do I start, how to start).

Five fundamental guessing skills will help you get started on genealogy research. Each involves being able to guess some additional information based on what is already shown on a family group record.

So, the best way to start is to prepare a family group record showing everything you know about the family. Then using the partly-completed family group record be able to:

  1. Guess a spelling variation for every name on that family group.
  2. Guess a place for every event on that family group.
  3. Guess a date for every event on that family group.
  4. Guess the easiest (and hardest) person and event to research on that family group.
  5. Guess the best record types to use for finding information about any person’s event on that family group.

The links above explain how to guess these key pieces of information when they are unknown or uncertain.

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