When I first started looking at the resources I might need to learn more about my family, I had a shock. All of the older generation (grandparents on both sides) was gone. I knew of no other people in my immediate family who were interested in genealogy. I had no idea where my cousins even lived anymore. Any of this sounds familiar?
But I was determined to find out all that I could about my family. From my background in teaching and grants management, I knew a lot about research. I started reading genealogy how-to books. I was looking for a research plan – where to begin. Some years down the line, I came across a wonderful book by Ann Carter Fleming called The Organized Family Historian. I wish that I had had this book from the beginning. The name of the first chapter “Where Do I Start?” tells you that you have come to the right place to get grounded in your search. The first step, according to Ms. Fleming and other professionals in the field, is to create a four-step ancestor chart, starting with you and going back to your great-grandparents (p. 12, Fleming). That’s what I did, using a free form from About Genealogy, http://genealogy.about.com/: