In preparation for research into your family history you should be able to have the answers to the following questions. If you do not have exact answers try to have approximate dates and places:
1. What side of the family are you going to research first?
2. Who are the five oldest relatives alive? About how old are they and where do they live?
3. Where were they born?
4. Be prepared to name (on both sides of the family) your father or guardian, grandparents and great grand parents.
5. Figure out what relatives were alive in 1920 and in what states they were residing. Make a list. The latest Federal Population Census Schedule that you will be able to search is 1920. The Privacy Act requires that a little over 70 years must pass before it [the census data] is available for public use. It is important to do a census history on your family by starting with 1920 and working backward to the 1790 [census]. The first enumeration began on the first Monday in August in 1790 and every 10 years after that.
6. Are there death certificates put away from which you can extract information? Take time to examine the information given. Determine if the name, marital status, and race of the deceased and the county of death fits with the information that you knew or though you knew. The place of death, the place of usual residence and sometimes a street address. With this information you can check a city directory. Begin with the year of death, and go back year by year until you no longer find them listed. Check all the people with the same surname and other connected surnames.