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Making a pedigree chart
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How did your hunt go this week? Were you able to visit relatives? Have you filled in your family group sheets? It is time now to decide which surname we are going to follow first.

Let's make a pedigree chart or you can print one from To make one yourself, get a blank piece of paper. At the bottom, write your name, remember if you are married to write your maiden name. Now draw a line up between your name and across like a T.

On the left side, write your mother's full name including maiden name and on the right side would be your father's.

Now do the same T with your mother and so forth. Remember, we are doing this so we can decide which family surname we need to work on the most. This week I want you to make your pedigree chart. In making this chart, you may find that you have more information for one side of the family than the other.

FORMS, FORMS, FORMS are the researcher's best friend and can be found at Of course, these forms are free. I have chosen the correspondence record, research calendar, research extract, source summary for family information. Let's take a few minutes to go over each of the forms.

Correspondence record helps you keep track of who you correspond with such as the caretaker at the cemetery, a great aunt, another researcher and so forth. The form shows the date sent, to whom sent which can be a email, the purpose sent, and what the reply was and the date. This form will help you to track your resources and also to follow up.

Research calendar helps you to track your source of information, the name you were researching and time period and your results. This is a great form to take with you when you go to the Library, Georgia Archives and even the probate office.

Research extract is similar to the Research Calendar but it shows you that you were able to extract information from the source. For example, if you get a result from a particular source then you can use your extract form to elaborate on what you found.

Source summary for family information needs to be filled out when you do find information from such sources as microfilm, reference books, birth index, death index, marriage books, obituaries, etc. These forms are great to use to keep track of your sources and what information you found. Of course, use these forms at your own comfort. You may want to use just one or two of them or all of them.

By now you know the surname you are going to follow. You have your forms printed and filled out. You have visited the relatives and got all the information. Let's talk about the surname you are hunting. Whether it be on your mother's side or your father's side, the first step is getting to know something about him/her. Did you get the birth/death date? Did you find out where they resided? Let's explore this a little more, let's say you know nothing. My first place would be to go to and type in the name. is free at the Newton County Library if you don't have a subscription at home. Next week we will talk about other free sites on the Internet to search for information about our ancestors.

Ellen Blakeslee is a professional genealogist living in Covington, GA. You can reach her by emailing her at