Where do I begin my genealogy research?

Where Do I Begin?
By:  Marilyn Gregory Fisher

      So you've decided to research your family history congratulations! Genealogy is a fulfilling pastime, one that can bring a real sense of accomplishment and understanding to you and your loved ones.   

      How do I get started?  I'm often asked this question.  Are you a beginner (then keep reading) or do you need help finding resources in Wayne County (Click Here)?

      For the beginner:  The first thing I tell people to do is "write down what you know or think you know."  List your immediate family first (yourself or your children) then work backwards from there.  By writing it all down, you will quickly see where you have missing information.

Things you will want to record:
Full names and nicknames of each person
Names of spouses
Marriage date and place (city, county, & state)
Date of birth (DOB) and place (city, county, & state)
Date of death (DOD) and place (city, county, & state)
Family stories

      Stay organized.  There are many web sites where you can download FREE family tree forms (see below).  Eventually you may want to invest in a computer program to store your information, but in the beginning a notebook will be fine. 

Family Group Sheets Ancestral Charts Source Summary

You must have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view these forms.

      Once you've made your list, ask your living relatives for any information they may have. This is especially important because the older members of the family will probably have information about people who are no longer with us.  Often times your relatives will own a family Bible where names and dates have been recorded.  Old photo albums are another good resource.  The pictures may have information written on the back or maybe an old photograph will jog the memory of an elderly relative.  Family reunions and holiday get-togethers are wonderful opportunities to collect information from your family members!

      Now you're ready to begin your search and verify the information that you've collected.  I'm a firm believer in doing my own research in courthouses and archives, but if these are not available to you, the internet is the next best thing! 
Are you going to find all of the information you will ever need on the internet?  NO, and it never will be.  But the internet is a wonderful tool if you use it wisely.   Not only is the internet full of helpful information, but you may also connect with long lost cousins through mailing lists and message boards. 
I caution you:  Just because you saw it on the web does not make it true!!   Just because an online Family Tree says that your Grandma Jones was born in 1795 Scotland, does not make it so.  Use these online trees merely as a guideline, but do your own research!  There are many fine genealogy websites out there for you to visit and LUCKY YOU, you've already found the KYGenWeb for Wayne County, Kentucky!  We offer links to birth, death, marriage, census records and so much more!  You will also find addresses where you can do additional research or send for copies of records.  So once you've finished reading this page.....head on back to our main page and start your search!

      List your sources!   What do I mean by this?  Whether you found your grandmother's death date in the family Bible, on her tombstone, or on her death certificate you need to write down in your notes where you found that information.  This is important because a year from now, you may not remember where you found that data.  This also helps eliminate duplicate searches if you should forget what resources you have already checked. 
Make copies of these documents if at all possible!   All though some resource documents are only as good as the person furnishing the information, sometimes these documents are the only proof we have.

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Wayne County Resources

Original Deed Books, Guardianship Records, Marriage Records (up to 1958), &
Will Books are all kept in the County Clerk's Office located at the Main St Courthouse:
Wayne County Clerks Office
109 N. Main St.
Monticello, KY 42633
Telephone: (606) 348-5721

Newspapers on microfilm from 1904, Census Books,
Cemetery Info, Family Histories and more can be found at the:
Wayne County Public Library
159 S. Main St.
Monticello, KY 42633-1456
Telephone: (606) 348-8565 FAX: 606-348-3829
[email protected]

Resource Library & Historical Exhibits
and helpful volunteers on staff.
Wayne County Historical and Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 320
209 North Main Street
Monticello, KY 42633

Birth and death certificates on microfilm from 1911 to 1950's
are located at the State Archives in Frankfort, KY.

Certified copies of birth & death certificates (1911 to present),
and marriage certificates (after June 1958) may be ordered
online from the Dept of Vital Statistics for a fee.


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