Think you're too busy with life here and now to research those ancestors you've always longed to know more about?
Ancestor hunting has never been easier or cheaper. With public library access to Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest, these Web sites provide ancestor hunting through census and other historical records. Here is an easy way to get you started on your search, without taking up enormous amounts of time, money or energy.
All you need is your memory, a willingness to think about the past and a pedigree chart. There are a number of Internet Web sites that provide free forms you can download. Ancestry.com provides numerous forms to download at www.ancestry.com/trees/charts/ancchart.aspx.
The pedigree or ancestral chart is a one-page chart that begins on the left-hand side with yourself. Moving to the right, there is a place for your father and mother; still moving right, there are four places for your father's parents and mother's parents, and on the far right, eight places for your father's parents' parents and mother's parents' parents. Don't give up if you can't complete the chart. On the form enter as much information as you know, or think you know. When you're not sure, place a question mark after what you think, but aren't sure about. There are places for name (enter the maiden or birth name of the females), place and date of birth, place and date of marriage, and place and date of death for each individual.
Once you've completed what you know or think, you might want to call someone in the family who's a generation or two older than you. Their memories are longer and perhaps some information they remember may be different from what you remember. Record their information when it differs from yours. Don't worry about making the chart neat and pretty. That comes later when you validate the information, with birth, marriage and death certificates and census and other records.
Your next step is to get some help from people who are experienced in genealogy researching and that help is free, and easily available. Treasure Coast Genealogical Society (TCGS) members provide free family history research every Tuesday at the St. Lucie County Public Library's downtown Fort Pierce branch. Volunteers usually work from about 9 to 3 p.m., and sometimes later, and can be available at other times by appointment.
TCGS meets the third Thursday of the month at 10 a.m., Trinity Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 5050 Oleander, just south of Midway Road in White City, from September through May.
Fort Pierce native Linda Hudson is a Treasure Coast Genealogical Society member who has been researching family history for nearly 30 years. She and other TCGS members can be found on Tuesdays at the St. Lucie County Downtown Library to assist members of the public with their genealogical quest.