After you have gathered and compiled your first generation you begin to recognize tools and documents that will assist you as you begin work on the second generation. At this point I recommend you have a desktop computer software application to assist you with organization. One that will interface with FamilySearch and other websites is recommended. Using a software program will assist in organization and quick retrieval of your data. I use Celebrating My Family Tree genealogy software for Windows. Compile and document your 2nd Generation after you have completed your personal first generation. The story, of your parents and their children, your siblings, comprises your second generation. You will want to include information on each birth date and place, schools they attended, church records that document their lives, activities they were involved in and who they married. Here is a simple list of items to collect: 1. Birth certificate, where is it archived. Obtain a copy if you don’t already have one. Since we live in a time of personal privacy it may be hard to obtain birth records for living people without their assistance. Do the best you can here. If you are not able to get a copy of the original put down what you know and in your documentation note that it is from personal memory or from the memory of whomever gave you the data. 2. Compile the basic dates and events for each person in this generation. You may want to interview your parents and close family members for additional details. 3. Acquire a copy of your parent’s marriage license from the county where they purchased it. Acquire a copy for each sibling; note the differences between each license. There are changes over time from generation to generation and year by year. 4. Make a timeline of life events and see what types of documents that may be listed. 5. Be sure to check for military records. The military keeps record and require proof of relationships. Many of these records are available online through sites like Fold3.com. 6. Some of your parents may be immigrants to the United States. Acquire copies of these records. There may be a picture attached that you have never seen before. 7. Newspapers are always a great place to check for data relating to your family. Birth announcements, engagements, marriages, death announcements, obituaries, and there are many other items of note that may be picked up in the paper. Be sure to look! As you collect the documents and stories that reveal the life of your family members you will begin to see how their local surroundings may influence lifestyle, religion, and attitude. I look forward to hearing some of your surprises. Holly T. Hansen is the owner of Family History Expos and Celebrating Family History. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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