After the visit with my grandmother, I started searching for the oldest known ancestor, Hiram B Louthan. He only lived 45 years or so, between 1800 and 1845, in Ohio. I made a list of what I needed/hoped to find:
- When did the city, county, and state begin recording births and deaths.
- What are the earliest county court records, is an index available.
- What county history books have been written. I always look for the oldest publication date.
- Census records, what information can I find.
- Free online genealogy websites like USGENWEB.org. Some counties have a lot of information posted online. Sometimes they will have contact information for the local genealogy go-to person.
- Contact the local library to see if they have a genealogy section.
- Cemetery Records, are there transcriptions available online
- Church Records
- Family Bible - talk to distant relatives to see if they have a family Bible
- Newspapers on microfilm for the area where the family lived
- Connect with others researching the same surname, search Google for your surname.
- Family Photos
Keep accurate records of your research in a log. Note who, what, when and where for every email or letter sent and received. Your note should detail the information requested and what your received. Don't rely on your memory. You can set up a spreadsheet yourself to keep an electronic record. Back up everything to an external drive. Share your information with your relatives!