Getting Started
Often people do not realize just how much information may actually be in their home.  Check out this sources you may not have considered.  Even old stories from relatives who exaggerate may have particles of truth.  Do not disregard these stories because part of those stories may be a big help in solving your families' secret past.

I also encourage my students to but together "working charts" (Ancestry Charts and Family Group Sheets that have not been proven).  These charts can help guide you into areas and dates that you have heard mentioned from your family but are not sure if they are correct.  For example: You know your mother was born in 1930.  If your mother was born in 1930, then your grandmother probably had her when she was around 20 to 30 years of age.  Then the estimated date of your grandmother's birth would be around 1910 or 1900.  This estimated date is based on the fact that most individuals had children in that era around 20 to 30 years of age.  Now, you have an estimated date of birth.  You also have an estimated date of marriage which would be around 1925 to 1929 if you mother was the first child.  This will help you in your search as without some sort of date you will spend a lot of time looking in the wrong records.  

Make sure these chart have "working chart" written on them so that down the road someone will mistake them for proven charts.  

Each date should be proven at least 2 times.  I recommend 3 times as then you are sure the date is correct.

Good luck with your search!  

Joan Kusek
Professional Genealogist