Hopkins District Library

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Where to start:

So you decided to work on a family history or tree? Well, let's see if we can get you started...

First you need to decide: would you like to compile a family history (stories, pictures, a tree, and documents) or are you interested in having a tree (names, birth/marriage/death dates, decedents) ? 

It is easy enough to switch to a tree if you decide that the family history is too complicated for you but if you already have a tree and want to fill in the history, it is more difficult.  You may find that some of our sources have passed away, photos were lost, or people simply don't remember the details anymore. 

Ok, now that you've decided...

- Start by talking ... to everyone!  Talk to elderly relatives and tell them what you want to do. Make sure to bring a recorder and camera with you so you don't miss any details and you can photograph the old photos if you can't have them. 

- Once you've talked to everyone you can, I would advise you to take a class.  There are classes and local genealogy specialists around Allegan County who can help you when you get stuck.

- Check the internet for birth, death, and marriage announcements in papers.  We have several databases and newspapers listed in the folders here.  Just remember that while lots of things have been digitized and are available on the internet, many have not. 

- Call or email your local historical society, library, or museum.  They may be able to give you a lead.  They might have collections of historic documents or know who does. 

- Keep digging!

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