For some, family history research may seem overwhelming! The following general principles can help make family history research "doable." These principles apply no matter what part of the world your ancestors lived in.
1. Choose a family or individual to learn about.
2. Write down what you know about the person or family. Find out what others may know about these people.
3. Decide what you want to learn about your ancestor, such as:
A. Birth or christening information
B. Marriage information
C. Death or burial information
D. Parents’ names
E. Children or descendants
4. Look for the most recent records in an ancestor’s life, and work back in time. Although you may be looking for birth or christening information, you may find this information in a death, obituary, or cemetery record.
5. Learn something about the area where the ancestor lived. If you know the name of the village, county, state, parish, or diocese where a person lived, it will be much easier to find records about your ancestor. A topographical dictionary or gazetteer is a good place to start learning about an area.
6. Obtain and search the record that may contain the information you want to learn. You can do this at the Phoenix Family History Center, or from the comfort of your own home if you have internet access.
7. Use the information you have found. Evaluate the material by asking questions about how the new information fits with what you already know.
A. Did you find the information you were searching?
B. Is the information complete?
C. Does it conflict with information you already have?
I have more tips for beginners here.
As always, if you are in the Phoenix area, there are Family History Consultants to help you at the Phoenix Family History Library at 3102 North 18th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85015-5811, 602-264-2825. Or, visit any of the LDS Family History Centers in your area (find a library in your area here).