Recording Your Data
Now that you have gathered family
information, you are ready to record it.
Your first step is to learn to
write the information in a way consistent with standard genealogical
styles. The examples below show the proper formats for writing names,
dates, and places. Genealogists use these styles to prevent confusion.
- NAMES: When
entering names, preference dictates. The full name is given and you
can write first names first, or surnames first. You can write the
surname all in capitals or in upper and lower case. Admittedly, it
is easier to scan your records if the surnames are all in capitals.
Whatever way you decide to enter your names, you must be consistent.
Nicknames, if important, are inserted just before the surname, and
put in quotation marks:
James Earl "Jimmy" CARTER, Jr.
Dwight David "Ike" EISENHOWER
John Quincy ADAMS
of the name is not known, leave a blank or draw a line where the unknown
part should go. If an entire name is not known, leave the space blank or
draw a line.
were not born married! Therefore, their married names are not
recorded anywhere on forms unless they happen to be widows [or from a
previous marriage]. If that is the case, write the maiden name in
parentheses and the previously married name outside the parentheses
Jean (Baker) Dimaggio
Dates on all forms are entered military style: day, month, year -
and always with a four-digit year. By the time you'll have reached
your fourth generation back you'll be changing centuries. The
four-digit year assures that you or anyone else reading your
research won't get confused as to the century. Months may be
October 1770 or 20 Oct 1770
1 March 1842 or 1 Mar 1842
16 May 1871
or all of the date is not known, draw a line where the information
1 Mar ____
Places are written so that the order is: town or township,
county/parish, state/province, country (when necessary).
Chicago, Cook Co., IL
Seattle, King Co., Washington
Franklin Twp., DeKalb Co., Indiana
Detroit, Michigan Territory
Wuerzburg, Bavaria, Germany
important to remember that county/parish boundaries may have changed
with the years. Record the event in the county/parish it was in at the
time of the event in question.
of the location is unknown, draw a line with a question mark in the
center where the information should go.
Tallahassee, ___?___, FL
____?____, Wayne, MI
ABBREVIATIONS: Some standard genealogical abbreviations that you
will need to know are given below.
b. = born
bap. = baptized
bp. = birthplace
bur. = buried
c. or chr. = christened
c. or ca. = circa;
approximately (ca. 1833 = about, approximately 1833)
d. = died
dp. = place of death
m. = married
mar. = married
mp. = place of marriage
standard postal abbreviations for states.
If, at the beginning, you are
handwriting your information ~ please, for the sake of being able to
correctly read your data, PRINT the information onto your forms. And,
unless you have absolute proof of one generation linking to the next
with documentation to accompany it, do not use pen. [Pencil lead
allows you to change what you initially thought was the correct
information; ink isn't as forgiving.]
Now that you know how to write
genealogical information, you are ready to place it on standard
genealogical forms. The two most commonly used are the pedigree chart
and the family group sheet:
The pedigree chart records basic
information about your direct-line ancestors from one generation to the
next - that is, from you to your grandparents, to your great-
grandparents, and so on. It shows parents only, not full families. Enter
basic information (birth, marriage, death) on your direct ancestors
(grandparents, etc.) on this chart.
Pedigree charts are available from
the same source where you'll get your family group records. They'll be
available in four, five or six generation varieties. There are several
different designs of pedigree charts, no one better than the other. Your
preferences of style will be all that matters.
position on the pedigree chart can be male or female. Thereafter, the
male line is always on top and is always an even number.
birth/maiden names for females and who are always odd numbers.
FAMILY GROUP SHEETS:
The appropriate form used to
record a family group is naturally called the family group sheet [or
just group sheet]. A family group includes parents, children, and the
spouse of each of those children. Organize your family into family
groups. Record their dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Be
neat and accurate. Be sure to include the exact source and location of
each piece of information.
One for each
known information about one father, one mother, and their children.
in birth order.
If a person was married more than
once, fill out a separate sheet for each marriage that resulted in
You can download both forms from
Family Tree Maker
site or you can use the ones from here.
IMPRINT AND REMEMBER:
A genealogy or family history without sources or documentation
is considered fiction!
Document your information sources
for any individual in a family group on the family group sheet.
Always note the source of information that you record or photocopy,
and date it too. Months or years later further into your research, you
may need to review your sources again. Someone may want to verify your
research, or someone may need to pick up where you left off.
If the material is from a book,
and place of publication
- ISBN or
ISSN [if it has one]
where you found the book
[Easier would be to just photocopy
the title and publishers page. ]
The point here is to make sure you
or anyone reading your material can walk back into the same place five
years later, locate the book and find the reference again.
For archival and manuscript
sources in addition to the above, include the box or volume number,
record group, or library classification number, and record group or item
For microfilmed material, in
addition to the above, be sure to include the microfilm reel number.
Good luck in your research!
For the Beginner