Family Group Sheets
Great! You’re back to go onto the next step in recording your ancestors stories.
As I had mentioned in the previous blog on Pedigree Charts, there are lots of resources online to download charts and sheets for your use. I recommend downloading the forms from the ‘National Genealogical Society or NGS‘.
You could use a standalone or an online genealogy program but I would strongly suggest doing it by hand first. You will learn a lot more and the tools you gain will show in your finished charts and forms.
So now that you have finished your first ‘Pedigree Chart‘, now you can begin working on a ‘Family Group Sheet‘, starting with your family.
Family Group Sheets are primarily used to summarize vital information about families. This sheet is for recording family units displaying information about the parents and children. The sheets and records will also show birth, marriage and death information, additional spouses, names of husband’s and wife’s parents, information about the children and their spouse.
These sheets can be used as a quick reference. If you have hit a brick wall, and you need to find answers to a family puzzle then these sheets can help you find an answer. Organizing your family tree with these forms will keep you organized and you can access data very quickly with them. It is a good practice to occasionally revisit your sources in your document and ensure they are properly recorded and updated with any new source material. These forms could also jog a memory and story from one of your relatives of someone who is in your tree.
Gathering sources can be anything of importance or something that can be attached to a person in your tree. Some of the info or artifacts could be part of your family genealogy treasures. Sources may include:
- Recollections from your own memories
- Family heirlooms, journals, old photographs, scrapbook, diaries, etc
- Interviews with family members on and audio or video recording
- Vital and Church records such as birth, christening/baptism, marriage, divorce, death records,etc
- Online sources such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, FindMyPast.com or FamilySearch.org
If you have any information that can be added to your Family Record Sheet, record the information and who you got it from, and the date you received it.
Remember the rules for documenting genealogy from the previous blog, ‘Starting Your Family Tree with Charts and Sheets – Part 1 of 2 – Pedigree Charts’. Review the rules. Tips and practices to pay attention to are:
- Write surnames in capital letters to distinguish last names from first and middle names. Always list last name first when recording names. Do not abbreviate names and record nicknames in quotation marks. (ie JONES, Harold “Red” Walter). If you know the middle name, spell it out as the person may have gone by their middle name when they were living and would help you when you are searching census records or newspaper articles. Record names by entering the full name: last, first, and middle.
- List women’s maiden names, not their married names and if you don’t know the maiden name just put a ? in the area for the surname. If the woman has been married more than once then it is a good idea to record other married names in brackets (ie WHITE/ALBERTSON). This can also help in your research.
- For consistency, it is best practice to format dates as <day, month, full year>. For example record the date as 21 December 1867. In your research you may have to record dates as either Unknown, 1867, before 1902 or after 1936.
Since we are starting on your family, you will fill in information about your father. First you need to record and fill in the area at the top for ‘Name and/or Date” and to the right the area for ‘Place”.
Start filling in the information on the husband. Enter his name, his date of birth, marriage info, etc then go down to the wife and enter as much information as possible on her and then into each of the children’s data sheet areas. There are data areas for nine children, if you need more to record, print out an extra <Page 3> and input your information and findings.
After you have filled in the information on all the children, record any sources you may have into the allotted areas on the forms.
Citing Sources is very important for genealogists and I highly recommend reading an article by John Wylie on genealogy.com, ‘How to Cite Sources – Recording Where Your Find Information’ it is excellent; the do’s and don’t s. Once you read this article you will have a much better understanding why you should do it.
Another article by Rhonda R. McClure, also on genealogy.com, ‘Citing Sources You Find Online, Overheard in GenForum, October 24, 2002’, is worth reading as well!
Get into the habit recording sources so that your Genealogy Charts and Sheets are properly documented.
The last thing you should do is on the bottom of each sheet you need to fill the area ‘Prepared By/Date‘.
Occasionally you will have to revisit each Family Record Sheet and make any necessary changes or amendments.
At this time the forms are completed and you will need to store them away properly in document protectors. I would suggest putting the ‘Pedigree Chart‘ and ‘Family Record Sheet‘ together into three-ring binder and colour code them by families. Doing this will preserve and keep them safe.
Next, complete a Family Group Sheet on another family unit. Start your next one with your grandparents on your paternal side and then one on your maternal side of the family.
Doing a web search on Google will give you plenty of info on researching your family tree. I tried a video search for ‘How to Cite Sources for Researching Genealogy’ and you will be amazed on the information available. Check it out. There are lots of videos on ‘Citing Sources’ and soon you will become an expert in genealogy in no time at all.
Enjoy ‘Discovering Your Past‘ and learning about Genealogy. Learn everything you can and share your tree with others in your family and/or other genealogists.