You wrote down all of your vital stats and now you can begin plotting on your pedigree chart. Thanks to the current interest in family history, you can purchase pedigree charts and ancestry-based paper in craft stores all over the United States. There are also several websites that offer free, printable pedigree charts, just like the fan chart that I provided for you yesterday.
When you create your pedigree chart, it is VITAL that you remember to be respectful of others' privacy regarding their identities. Even if a person is deceased, you want to take special care in how you utilize their personal information. If the pedigree chart is for your own personal and family use, then you don't have to be so rigid regarding privacy. However, if you plan to share your information on the Internet or some other public space, then you may want to blur out certain identifying characteristics and get the consent from living relatives before proceeding. Below is an example of how to begin your pedigree chart. For privacy, I have blurred out some personal information.
Notice that if you are creating the pedigree chart for yourself, then YOUR name must be on the first line. Your spouse's information would be written under your name if you have a spouse. If you don't have a spouse, leave it blank. There are sections for your father, mother, your paternal side (father's side), and your maternal side (mother's side).
1. At this point, the pedigree chart should become your working copy. You can print out several copies if you like for scrap and jot down hints that you find along the way. Remember to keep all of your loose papers in a folder, box, or file cabinet so that they are easily accessible.
2. Enter as much information about your parents, your paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents, and so on, as you can.
3. Now is a good time to interview your living ancestors. If you are fortunate to still have your parents and grandparents with you, then you need to grill and drill them for any information they can remember. Once they pass on, some of your questions will not be answered and that will make your detective work a little harder.
4. Write your information in pencil if you are uncertain of name spellings, dates, and locations. Only move to permanent ink when you are SURE that the information is correct.
5. Last names should be CAPITALIZED throughout the tree.
6. Do not forget to record ALL of the women in your family with their MAIDEN names. Trust me, this is important.
DOING THE DETECTIVE WORK...
Check out this list of possible places where you can figure out family information!
A) family Bibles
B) the backs of old photographs
C) interviewing living ancestors, cousins, etc
D) graveyards (I know, it sounds creepy, but you would be amazed at what you can find regarding dates and who your ancestors are buried with or near.)
F) old newspapers (Newspapers are good resources to find out about engagements, weddings, and obituaries.)
G) prayer cards you receive at wakes and funerals (Again, a little morbid, but the information is priceless.)
Here is another wonderful website for printing out free ancestry forms:
HOMEWORK FROM THE HERITAGE HUNTER:
Print out a free pedigree chart and start plotting your information. These will be collected and graded! (Just kidding!) Happy hunting!
My maternal grandparents, Gennaro and Giuseppa being silly on the rooftop of their Lower East Side apartment building, circa 1940s.