Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Genealogy 101 – Using Family Group Sheets

Family Group Sheets, also known as Family Group Records, are the next form that you will want to become familiar with.

Once you have put together your four or five generation Pedigree Chart, the next step is to complete a Family Group Sheet for each couple on your chart.  You will need to complete eight Family Group Sheet forms, for a 4 generation pedigree chart.

1 – Person 1 (and spouse)
2 – Person 2 and 3 – your parents and your siblings
3 – Person 4 and 5 – your father’s parents and his siblings
4 – Person 6 and 7 – your mother’s parents and her siblings
5 – Person 8 and 9 – your paternal grandfather’s parents and his siblings
6 – Person 10 and 11 – your paternal grandmother’s parents and her siblings
7 – Person 12 and 13 – your maternal grandfather’s parents and his siblings
8 – Person 14 and 15 – your maternal grandmother’s parents and her siblings

Most family group sheets will record the names of the husband, wife and children in a family unit.  They also record the birth, marriage and death information, as well as additional spouses (if any) of the parents and in some cases the spouses for each of the children.  A well-documented family group sheet will also cite the sources of the information, usually in the footnotes area at the bottom or on the last page.  Some have additional blanks for information such as: cause of death, cemetery information, religious affiliations, military service, occupations, etc.

Online Forms

There are several good resources online to find FREE Family Group Forms.  I prefer to use the forms that are printed in Landscape, because they usually can get several children on one page but the spaces can be small for writing if you write big.  Some of the portrait style forms have larger blanks, but usually only get 3 children on the first page and you need to print continuation pages for the rest of family.

This is the one I use when I am helping someone get started with their research: – Family Group Record

But this is also a good form - portrait style with online fill in the blanks in PDF form from the Ancestors tv series on KBYU:

And if you are LDS, then you may want to use the LDS version located on FamilySearch:

Staying Organized

In order to stay organized at this point, I suggest getting a 2 inch binder, and putting the Pedigree Chart in the front and then each Family Group Sheet behind it by generation.  So you, then your parents, then your father’s parents, your mother’s parents, etc.  As you gather documents and photos in your research, you can put them into archival sleeves and store the materials behind each respective family group sheet.

What Next

Similar to how a Pedigree Chart gives you an overview of your direct ancestors, a family group sheet helps you get a more detailed overview of the lives of your ancestors and their immediate family.  I use completed Family Group Sheets when I’m creating a “timeline” for an ancestor I am researching, by seeing the important dates in their family along with historical events. Such as the date parents died, and children were married, and census locations and occupations at various times along with dates of wars, or presidential elections, etc.  I get a better picture of the life my ancestor had.

Family Group Sheets provide spaces for you to record information about the parents and children in one family.  They have spaces for names, dates and locations and help you get a more detailed image about the lives of your ancestors in relationship to the various events (births, marriages and deaths) of each family member.

Use the details on your completed family group sheet to get additional ideas about where to search next for more information on the family.  For example: analyzing when a couple’s first child was born (perhaps based off an age and birth place location on a census record) may give you a clue where and when to focus your search for their marriage record. Or analyze when and where they moved from and to based on the dates and locations of the births of each child, and maybe be able to narrow in on a time the family may have immigrated.

Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise I'll see you back here next week for a look at reviewing types of documents you may want to use in your research.

Love & Aloha,
~Cuzn Amy 

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