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Genealogy & Ancestry Sources (Wayne College): Home

Discover your family history by using this guide to start your genealogy research.

Common Mistakes

  • Failing to keep records
  • Assuming you are related to a famous person who shares the same surname.
  • Ignoring the siblings of the ancestors you are researching.
  • Jumping to a conclusion based on insufficient evidence, keep copies of birth, death and other documents
  • Overlooking maiden names
  • Skipping a generation
  • Assuming a name is spelled only one way
  • Failing to recognize a misleading or unreliable internet website.
  • Being unaware that African American searches maybe located in the back of documents in a colored section of a record group. In the military, African Americans served in segregated units until the army was integrated in 1952.
  • Not understanding the history of a region ( Examples: United States South: during the Civil War documents were destroyed. In Europe: borders have shifted during and after wars .)

Getting Started with Your Research:


General Tips:

  • Keep a record of your research. You can use the form or any forms located on the Internet
  • Consult or interview family members.
  • Use your family bible or family records hidden in attics.
  • First rule of genealogical research is to start with yourself or a parent and work backwards.
  • The Federal Census was first conducted in 1790 and is conducted every ten years.
  • However, due to Federal Privacy laws, no federal records within a seventy two years period are open to the public.
  • Start with a family member with the 1940 census.
  • Many public libraries have a genealogy department and local historical records to help with your genealogy searches.
  • Scan or take digital photographs of family documents and family heirlooms that are held by your family members.



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