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Blakeslee: Starting the hunt
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Glad to see you back again this week. Have you had a chance to gather your tools for your hunt? Did you get a chance to explore Did you go visit the Newton County Library’s Heritage Room? The Library has genealogy volunteers just about everyday in the Heritage Room to help you. How about that steno book and loose leaf notebook?

Let’s go over how to obtain forms from If you are using the home version of Ancestry, click on  LEARNING CENTER; click on FIRST STEPS; click on START WITH PAPER AND PENCIL. At this point, you can print out a variety of forms. If using the library Ancestry, at the home page, click on CHARTS AND FORMS. You will see Family Group Sheet and can print at this point. The Family Group sheet will guide you through your journey to hunt down your ancestors. As you fill out the form, you will get closer and closer to what it was like to live as your ancestors did in the 1800s and early 1900s. Use one form for each generation. Sit down and fill out the form for yourself, then your parents, then their parents and so forth. Do you see how your notebook is growing?

Now that we are familiar with the Family Group Sheet the hunt begins. First, you need to go visit your oldest relative. Will this involve travel? I am sure you work during the week so you will have to schedule a weekend to travel. Holidays are a great time to stop in and visit. May 13 is Mother’s Day and a great day to visit grandma. Is your grandmother still living? She will have lots of information for you and a picture or two will be a bonus. Listen to what grandma says. Start by asking her questions about her parents and any information she may know about her own grandparents. Maybe she will have a story or two to tell. It might take one or two trips to get all the information you need. Don’t tire the older relatives, although they will probably tire you out. They will welcome your visit and love reminiscing about old times. Don’t forget about the other side of your family. You have a grandmother on both your father and mother’s side. Make sure you bring the forms with you and follow up your visit with a phone call and maybe a question. If you have a voice recorder, make sure you take it with you. You will be able to capture your grandmother’s voice and also refer back to her stories often. This would also be a good time to take a picture of grandma and if she has pictures, you can use your digital camera to reproduce the pictures. A portable scanner can also scan grandma’s pictures.

You may be visiting lots of relatives or you may not have any living relatives. Whatever your circumstances, filling out the Family Group Sheet will bring you closer to understanding and deciding what you will need to keep hunting.

This week, I need you to go visit your oldest relatives. If you have any questions about the Family Group Sheet, visiting relatives, organizing, or the tools you will need, email me at 

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