logo Vanderburgh County INGenWeb

Part of the InGenWeb & USGenWeb Projects

Tips for Researching Your Ancestors

I've gotten numerous requests for guidance in researching ancestors in Vanderburgh. The following list is where I'd begin my research:

treeTalk to everyone in your family about what they know about the ancestors, keeping in mind that memories can fade and that some of their information is inaccurate. (Great Grandma was a full-blooded Indian or we came over on the Mayflower are two
         examples of information that is said over & over that is usually not true.) Write down what you've found out.

treeBuy or download a free genealogy program to organize your information. Brother's Keeper/a is shareware and can be downloaded for free. This way all of your information is organized and can be emailed to someone easily.

tree Explore "Resources". In this section you will also find many links to great sites for beginners. 

treeUse ALL types of spellings when you look for records. Many times the spelling changed (Hawley to Holley) or the person writing down the information had trouble deciphering the script. Sometimes names are spelled so "screwy" that your best bet is just to go through the pages. The "s" looks like "f" in some old script, so Smith could look like Fith to a beginning transcriber.

tree Use the search engine on this web and others to locate surnames. 

treePost a query on the query board. There are a number of different query boards including Surname Boards -Gen Forum. (They're listed in "Research Resources" under the "Helpful Links" page)

treeJoin the email list and ask questions about your ancestors there. (I also make announcements to the list when I put new information on the Vanderburgh GenWeb.)

treeCheck census records in the county and in surrounding counties. The 1850 census records begin listing all of the family members and where each was born.

treeCheck the Cemetery records. There are quite a few on records in this web and there are links to other's pages that have records. 

treeCheck the funeral home listings. Many times people did not have money to buy a tombstone, but their remains were handled by an undertaker.

treeCheck the Willard library in Evansville to see if they have any biographical information on the family you are searching for. If you've never been there, it is certainly worth the trip!

treeCheck the birth, death and marriage records. Those may list parents names, etc. Get copies of these records by ordering them from the appropriate source.

treeCheck the court records index. If you find something of interest, try to order the record from the County Clerk. You may have to make a trip to Evansville or hire a researcher to get the information for you.

tree Check the old newspapers. You may need to write one of the libraries to see if your family member's name is listed in the index.

tree If the ancestor was in the Civil War, order the records! They have a great deal of information in them!

Don't take every piece of information someone sends you as gospel! Ask for sources! Verify information! Have an open mind! YOU could be mistaken!