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8 Tools to Help You Research Family Ancestry to Create a Family Tree
Have you ever wondered where you came from? Maybe your child has asked about where their ancestors used to live before immigrating to the United States? Exploring your family tree can be a fun and exciting project for you and your entire family.
As you get ready to start your genealogical research, it is a good idea to utilize several tools to help you keep track of information, dates, names, etc. Some of the essential tools you will need include:
1. Family Tree Building App
There are several apps that allow you to build your family tree. Some of these are online, and some allow you to save the file on your computer. Two of the more popular ones are found at Ancestry.com and FamilyTreeMaker.com.
2. Naturalization Papers
Naturalization papers are a great way to find out where your ancestors immigrated from. These papers have a lot of useful information depending on when they were issued. If they were issued before 1906, they could provide their country of origin and country of residency.
Some early naturalization papers and those issued after 1906 could also include their birthplace, port of arrival, date of arrival in the U.S, and other details not previously recorded.
3. Tablet with External/Cloud-Based Storage
Invest in a tablet because tablets are more portable than laptops. Most also have built-in cameras for taking pictures, which can be useful when you find relevant paper documentation to expand your family tree.
You will want to back up all your hard work onto an external device or the cloud. It would be a shame if your tablet or laptop failed and you lost all your work.
4. List of Interview Questions
Create a list of interview questions to ask family members to learn more about where you came from. The more detailed information your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents can provide, the better. They may even have naturalization papers or other documents that could be useful.
5. Public Libraries
Your search for your ancestors should include a trip to public libraries. Many have subscriptions to online ancestry research sites that you can use for free. In addition, you may want to spend time searching through old newspapers, Ellis Island arrival records, and so on.
6. Translation Service
At some point, you will encounter documents, birth certificates, and other official records that are in a foreign language you may not be able to read or translate yourself. Take the time to find a translation service that offers the language you seek. For instance, we offer translation services for Italian ancestry records and documents needed to apply for Italian American dual citizenship.
7. Church Directories
Once you start finding ancestors in specific locations, it can be beneficial to reach out to local churches. Most churches have church directories that can date back to the 15th century. These directories often recorded births, marriages, and deaths.
8. Office Supplies and Equipment
You will need notepads, post-its, a color printer, paper, and other office supplies and equipment for your genealogical research. It can be quite exciting to cut a large piece of drawing paper, hang it on a wall, and use this to create a visual representation of your family tree.
Make sure to leave some space to add pictures of family members. Use Post-its when you have questions or research you still need to do for each ancestor.
As you can see, discovering your family’s ancestry can be fun, exciting, and equally challenging. With the right tools, you will be able to record discoveries and new information as you build your family tree.
Who knows? You might even qualify for Italian American dual citizenship! For help with Italian ancestry records translations or to learn more about dual citizenship status, please feel free to contact the Italian American Citizen Assistance Program at (305) 812-5512 today!