Genealogy Supplies

When you are first starting out to build your family tree, the supplies you need will be few. You only need pen and paper, and perhaps a folder to keep everything contained. However, as you get more into the process, you will find that there are more things you will need.

Calculator-When looking at census records to find your ancestors, most censuses do not list the person's birthdate. Instead, you will need to calculate their approximate age at the time of the census to find them. While you may be able to add in your head, a calculator can be handy.

Photo and document storage-During your genealogy search, you may be given old photographs or documents. These are fragile and need to be handled with care. Consider scanning them into your computer and then storing the original in acid-free containers. Look for products that indicate they are for use in preservation or archival purposes.

Email account-In order to register for the genealogy forums, you will need an email address. If you are requesting look-ups from genealogy volunteers, you will need one for that as well. It is a good idea to have a separate email for genealogy. One, there is less risk of overlooking messages. Two, if you find it necessary to post your email on a discussion board, it offers a layer of protection from your regular email. There are free email accounts available from several places on the internet. Just pick one.

Recording equipment-While this is not a necessity, it can be helpful when interviewing long-winded relatives. Recording the conversation on audio or video allows you to focus on getting answers rather than trying to write down everything.

Genealogy forms-There are a wide variety of genealogy forms available, both free and for a price. Forms can help you organize your information and see what blanks you need to fill yet. At a bare minimum, I recommend census extraction forms. They contain the same columns as the census did, allowing you to copy down the information completely. I gathered some of my favorite forms for you in another post.

Family tree software-While it is possible to do a family tree by hand, software can help organize everything for you, especially if you have a large family. There are free and paid versions available.


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