Now that we have gathered the information we have at home the next step is to put it in a context that we can understand where we need to go. This step involved putting together all the names that you know starting with you. This can all be put on what is know as a Pedigree chart. Typically these are what is known as a five generation chart. Start on the left side of the sheet. Then work your way to the right and fill out as many blanks as you are able. The top part of the charts is your paternal line (father's side) and the bottom portion is the maternal line (mother's side). Be sure to fill out the categories of birth, marriage and death. Please identify the date as follows. ex 4 September 2011. Include the location of the event. (Toledo, Lucas, Ohio) Don't worry about filling it all out if you don't have it all. Reference where you got your information. A genealogy without proof is fiction.
Evaluate the blank spots. This give us the areas where we need to find more information. At this stage of the search it is now time to contact relatives. Start by making a list of people you know. As you go through the contact process be sure to ask for names with others that may be able to help. Be aware that often the people you think will help and those you don't think will help do. Information comes from the most unlikely places. The stories from the oldest to youngest can vary a great deal. Prior to making the calls, make a list of questions that will help you keep on track. Tomorrow we will go over a list of questions.