Just as the Internet offers access to millions of records, it also provides tools and forms to help you
make sense of it all. As you interview family members, obtain copies of birth certificates and draw your
family tree, you must know how to organize it all. It may seem a little obsessive to check off
every step in archiving audio, photo or video records, but when you lose priceless information from
a since-dead relative, it won't seem strange at all.
While organizing your research, be sure to note the sources you use. Sourcing your findings is important
to maintain their credibility, said Becky Kemp, product manager of
Free forms and helpful charts abound on the Net. Before your research gets hard to manage, check out
"Supplies, Charts, Forms, Etc." at
Cyndi's List. You'll find hundreds of links to downloadable charts,
mailing lists and vendors.
Ancestor Detective Freebies provides
downloadable research calendars to help neaten your search. Family Tree Magazine offers a wide variety of
downloadable forms that can be hard to
find elsewhere on the Internet, including a military records checklist and cemetery transcription
form. Everton's Free Forms has a pedigree
chart and family group sheet.
Besides forms and charts, other Internet tools can aid your research. Having trouble understanding
a document written in a foreign language? FreeTranslation.com
lets visitors translate text from several languages including Spanish, Portuguese, and Norwegian.
Posting a query online is a great way to connect with people researching the same surname.
GenForum hosts discussion groups for every surname from
Aalseth to Zyzelewski. You'll also find forums for locations and many genealogy topics.
GEDCOM files are a common way to store family trees via computer.
The GED Browser allows users to
convert these files into HTML format.
Using the Soundex Machine, part of
the National Archives, amateur genealogists can enter a surname into the search engine
and receive the corresponding code that will allow them to request the correct roll of
census microfilm. This code allows users to look up names that may be listed under various spellings.