Donna Cooper

Donna Cooper

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Researching Family Records



  1. What to copy? Everything in the document and if possible get a photo copy. 
  2. Whose records to copy? If possible everyone of the same surname and everyone who is related.
  3. Get property locations and go to the place that you people once owned.


  1. Take a photo of every stone that belongs to a relative.
  2. Use shaving cream on old weather beaten stones so that you can read the names and dates. Take a squeegee and rub off the excess after you have soap the letters and numbers good. (I have a confirmation from a retired chemist that this process does not harm the stone. It isn't very smart to listen to what people have to say who are not educated in chemistry. Their ideas are nothing more than opinions.) 
  3. If a stone is on the ground and in two or three pieces try to do what you can to get the information on it so that either you or someone else can have a new stone made using the same information.
  4. Once you are home - study the data.
  5. Figure out how all of the people buried there were related. [Digital cameras are wonderful] 
  6. Don't overlook cousins and extended relatives who are buried in the cemetery.
  7. Never assume that people buried in the same cemetery were not related.
  8. Always research the cemetery data you located with census and court house records.

  9. Find out the location of the cemetery and how close it was to the property that your family owned.
  10. Please do share your photos with others.


  1. Ask questions and let them do the talking. [Listen]
  2. Visiting relatives never ends - look for people to visit that you didn't know were related.
  3. Write down everything that you were told - even if you think that it isn't true!
  4. Find out who has the family photos and family Bible.
  5. Collect family stories as family lore and add them to enrich the study.
  6. Remember family stories should not be considered the same as facts.


  1. Go early and stay late. 
  2. Make photo copies of all the records that you locate.
  3. List the resource of the records along with pages, etc. 
  4. Always give credit to the person who did the original record work.
  5. Remember that a lot of what you collect will be considered secondary resource material.

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