Interested in a Genealogy Project? Documents You’ll Need to Get Started

In November 28, 2016

Are you interested in starting a genealogy project? You’re not alone. The ease with which people can learn about their past, thanks to services like, and even, has paved the way for the average person to learn more about their personal history. Everyone has their own reasons for starting a genealogy search. You might want to learn more about a certain family member, connect with lost family, or simply learn where your family’s ethnic roots are from with more accuracy. Depending on which service you choose, you may need different documents or need to submit DNA for a test to determine ethnicity percentages.  However, there are a few common documents you will need for genealogy research to get started.


Documents Commonly Needed for Genealogy Research:


  • Birth certificates: Gathering any birth certificates you have, or finding them from family members, can provide  a great starting point as it gives you birth locations and parents’ names.
  • Death certificates: Having access to death certificates, even if they aren’t original copies, can provide valuable assistance in learning your family’s past.  A simple online search for names can often bring up census information with death certificate details that can help you  put together timelines.
  • Marriage certificates: One of the most confusing parts of genealogy is following a family tree when someone changed their name. Marriage certificates can often be obtained online or at a vital records office if you do not already have copies of your own. These documents  will help put together a tree and determine who married who, and how name changes affect family lines.
  • Divorce certificates: If a marriage did not last, you will want to follow this lead too. This process may also bring in step siblings, step parents, and more name changes to add to a family tree.


While these documents will help you get a great start at tracking your genealogy and learning your family’s past, all of this information can get confusing. Remembering which leads you followed and which ones were dead ends can be difficult when you are dealing with so much information at one time. Learning how to organize your genealogy records is the next important step in the process of learning your personal history.  Here are a few tips on how to organize genealogy records to make this process an easier one.


  • Keep a journal or ledger of all of the dates of your genealogy research.
  • For each date, be sure to document what you did and what you found.
  • Be sure to note the source of all of your information – you never want to dig in the same two places for your information.
  • Use a notes section to indicate the quality of each resource and/or location of information was for you and your reason for searching.
  • Use a binder or a filing system for all printed documents to keep them safe and organized.
  • If you are conducting your search online, save links by bookmarking them, using an online filing system or entering them in  an electronic document.

These tips on how to organize your genealogy records will save you from the headache of  redoing work. To learn more about obtaining your government certified vital records, you can visit

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