"I know my Pedigree. Wanna see my chart?"
Have you had fun unearthing all your family's stuff ~ documents, letters, notes, photos, & other memorabilia? Not done yet? Good. The more stuff, the better. Keep working on it.
Meanwhile, let's get down on paper the information you have so far. The things you know. Millie, my Pug to the left, brings up a good point. The pedigree chart. When you think about it, building your genealogy or your family history is like building a house. The foundation is where you get the information (sources). The framework of the house represents the facts. And everything else is the family history. The stories. [Simplistic? Yes. But I think it works.] Anywho, the best way to start on the framework is to fill-out a pedigree chart. Are you going to know everything? Um. No. But just as builders have a blueprint of the house they're going to build, you're going to need to start drawing up the blueprint of your family tree.
Further, filling out this chart will identify what you know and what you don't know. [You know?] This is important for all your future research. How else do you know what you need to look for? How can you possibly look for answers to questions that you haven't even asked? [*snort* Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green?]
Oh. And to my Ancestry.com user friends, if you already have a pedigree chart from your Ancestry.com tree, great! BUT put it aside. Why? [Because I'm the genealogist. That's why. *wink*] Because it's so easy to merge information into your tree from Ancestry.com. So easy that you might have unknowingly collected information from someone else's family tree that is incorrect and undocumented. [And do I really need to mention what happens when your foundation is not solid? It affects every part of your house. In a bad way.] Now. While Ancestry.com is a very, extremely useful research tool [including the tree], it's just that. A tool. It's not an end product, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong. I use it all the time. But I use it as a tool. [You're just gonna have to trust me on this one. It'll make sense later. I promise.]
So, let's take a look at a pedigree chart and how to fill it out. First, free blank pedigree charts can be downloaded from many places online. Here are 2 of them:
Now, I think this chart is pretty self-explanatory. Here are some things, though, to keep in mind when filling it out: