Cover image for The complete beginner's guide to genealogy, the Internet, and your genealogy computer program
The complete beginner's guide to genealogy, the Internet, and your genealogy computer program
Clifford, Karen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore, MD : Genealogical Pub. Co., [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (various pagings) : illustrations ; 28 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CS14 .C56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
CS14 .C56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
CS14 .C56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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With bases in Salt Lake City and Monterey, California, Clifford (genealogy and computers, Monterey Peninsula College) provides a manual on using the modern tools available to chart family histories. She explains that while electronic databases, computer programs, and Internet resources have changed the field radically, the research principles remain those that have been established over centuries. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Author Notes

Karen Clifford is founder and president of Genealogy Research Associates, Inc., as well as first vice president of the Utah Genealogical Association Board of Directors. Prior to working as an Accredited Genealogist in Midwestern States Research, Clifford specialized in southern states and Scandinavian research.

Clifford has authored several family histories and textbooks including Genealogy and Computers for the Complete Beginner: A Step by Step Guide that will aid any interested novice in researching their family history. This was followed by Genealogy and Research for the Advanced Researcher: Pulling It All Together (1995) and Becoming An Accredited Genealogist: Plus 100 Tips to Ensure Your Success (1998). Clifford also edited and illustrated Tidewater Families of the New World and Their Westward Migration.

Clifford is a member of the California State Genealogy Alliance where she is also the editor of the organization's Newsletter. She is an instructor in the Associates Degree programs in Library Science-Genealogy and Computers at Hartnell College in Salinas, California, and Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The proliferation of home computers and the accessibility of the Internet have virtually revolutionized the discipline of genealogical research. This indispensable guide provides a practical blueprint for sophisticated genealogical examinations. Combining traditional archival research methods with technologically enhanced techniques, the author offers tutelage, tips, and shortcuts designed to enable novice investigators to construct comprehensive family histories. The instructional format includes helpful assignments, activities, and checklists. This practical manual is an ideal resource for genealogical research in a new era. --Margaret Flanagan

Library Journal Review

As the title indicates, Clifford strives to cover all things genealogical in this fact-filled workbook. Heavily illustrated with charts, maps, reproducible forms, word definitions, and as-you-go assignments, her book assumes that the reader is beginning genealogy research in general while learning to use a genealogy computer program. But you don't have to have a genealogy program at hand to use this book successfully, for all readers can benefit from Clifford's objectives: to set goals, apply proper research skills, employ critical analysis, thoroughly document findings, and avoid "skipping" generations. Clifford (Becoming an Accredited Genealogist, Ancestry, 1998) offers straightforward discussions of terms, types of records, and major repositories of genealogy materials. For the various records and methods of investigation, she ties in suggestions for incorporating data into a genealogy program. Each chapter ends with brief assignments, URLs, and a bibliography. Her chapters on the Latter Day Saints' (LDS) Family History Library, local family history centers, and their various databases may provide insights to even experienced researchers. Two appendixes (on the Internet and reproducible forms) complete the book. Clifford's work compares to Emily Croom's Unpuzzling Your Past (Betterway, 1995) in its approach to genealogy basics but covers LDS resources in much greater depth. For a more thorough introduction to genealogy research on the Internet, however, readers might try Rhonda McClure's Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy (Alpha, 2000). Clifford is president of Genealogy Research Associates, Inc., whose web site is referred to throughout. Recommended for public libraries.DElaine M. Kuhn, Allen Cty. P.L., Ft. Wayne, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Principles of Success for the Family Historian
Family Historyp. 1
The Research Cyclep. 4
Set a Goalp. 7
Decide Which Source to Usep. 8
Locate the Sourcep. 8
Search the Sourcep. 9
Copy the Informationp. 10
Evaluate the Informationp. 11
Use the Resultsp. 12
Organize and Reorganizep. 13
Preassessmentp. 14
Gather Family Recordsp. 14
A Proven Formulap. 17
Assignment 1 Sorting Your Family Materialsp. 20
Web Sitep. 22
Chapter 2 Organizing Family Information
Before the Beginning There is Usually Chaosp. 1
The Pedigree Chartp. 1
The Family Group Recordp. 3
Assignment 2 Filling in Charts and Formsp. 31
Web Sitep. 33
Chapter 3 Becoming Acquainted with Your Genealogy Program
Entering Family Informationp. 1
Exciting Features of Good Genealogy Computer Programsp. 2
Assignment 3 Entering Your Own Family Informationp. 11
Web Sitesp. 12
Chapter 4 Why Document?
You'll Want to Document Becausep. 1
The Elements of a Complete Citationp. 2
Making Your Research More Effectivep. 3
Transcribing and Abstractingp. 7
Genealogy Documentation Guidelinesp. 9
A Guaranteed Guide for Excellent Documentationp. 13
Assignment 4 Filling Out Documentation Guideline Formsp. 18
Web Sitesp. 20
Chapter 5 Printing Your Records
Before You Printp. 1
Pedigree Chartsp. 3
Family Group Recordsp. 3
Other Charts and Formsp. 6
Print Destinationp. 7
Assignment 5 Printing Your Own Family Informationp. 9
Web Sitesp. 11
Chapter 6 Your Family History Notebook
Your Family History Notebook and Filing Systemp. 1
Pedigree Chartsp. 4
Pedigree Chart Indexp. 8
Alpha Index or Family Group Sorted Listp. 8
Desendancy Chartp. 9
Family Group Recordsp. 10
Other Tabsp. 12
Assignment 6 Assembling Your Family History Notebookp. 14
Web Sitep. 15
Chapter 7 Developing a Sense of Our Ancestors' Environment
Mapping Your Ancestors' Livesp. 2
A Geographical Perspectivep. 6
How to Use Maps Effectively in Your Researchp. 15
A Chronological Perspectivep. 22
Assignment 7 Organization of Historical Eventsp. 25
Web Sitesp. 27
Chapter 8 Resolving Conflict
Resolving Conflictp. 1
Initial Techniques for Searching Sourcesp. 3
Tips for Effective Use of the Research Plannerp. 5
Assignment 8 Resolving Conflictsp. 17
Web Sitesp. 20
Chapter 9 State Vital Record Offices, Public Libraries, Courthouses and Local Repositories
Armchair Genealogyp. 1
How to Search for Vital Recordsp. 4
Public Librariesp. 18
Courthousesp. 21
Historical Societiesp. 22
Assignment 9 Determining the Best Repositoryp. 25
Web Sitesp. 28
Chapter 10 Resources of the Family History Library
Using the Family History Library Catalogp. 2
The SourceGuidep. 9
Assignment 10 Using the FHLC and SourceGuidep. 11
Web Sitep. 12
Chapter 11 Major Databases of the Family History Library
Family History Library Databasesp. 1
What is the IGI?p. 2
How the IGI Helps in Researchp. 4
Limitations of the IGIp. 6
What is the Ancestral File?p. 8
How to Correct Errors in the Ancestral Filep. 9
What is the Family History Library Catalog?p. 16
What is the Social Security Death Index?p. 16
What is the Military Records Index?p. 18
What are the Vital Records Index CDs?p. 18
What is the 1881 British Census CD?p. 18
What is the 1851 British Census CD?p. 18
What is the Scottish Old Parochial Index?p. 19
What is the Pedigree Resource File?p. 19
Assignment 11 Searching Databasesp. 20
Web Sitesp. 21
Chapter 12 Using Local Family History Centers
Your Local Family History Centerp. 1
Step-by-Step Guide to the FHCp. 2
Research Strategies in a Family History Centerp. 3
Help for the Researcherp. 9
Self-help Resourcesp. 9
British Census Recordsp. 10
Assignment 12 Visit a Local Family History Centerp. 14
Web Sitesp. 15
Chapter 13 National Archives and Regional Records Services Facilities
Regional Records Services Facilitiesp. 1
Immigration Recordsp. 2
Military Recordsp. 3
Assignment 13 Using Records of the National Archivesp. 8
Web Sitesp. 9
Chapter 14 Census Records Between 1850-1920
General Guidelinesp. 1
Research Aidsp. 12
Other Indexesp. 17
Obtaining Census Filmsp. 21
Using Census Records at Regional Records Services Facilitiesp. 22
Assignment 14 Census Recordsp. 27
Web Sitep. 28
Chapter 15 Analysis and Goal Setting
Organizationp. 1
Determine What is Missingp. 2
Communicationp. 5
Customsp. 6
Dialectp. 7
Naming Customsp. 7
Learning More About Repositoriesp. 8
Assignment 15 Make Plans Now for the Futurep. 10
Web Sitesp. 11
Chapter 16 Sharing Your Family History Research
Sharingp. 1
The Futurep. 4
Assignment 16 Sharing Your Family History Research Notebookp. 5
Web Sitesp. 6
Appendix A The Internet and Genealogy
Appendix B Genealogical Forms