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Genealogy and Family History

Learn how to trace your family history.

How to Get Started

Researching your family's history is fun. The best way to get started is to start with yourself.  Write down your name, your birth year and where you were born. Then find the same information for your mother and father adding the date of their marriage and death information if applicable. You are starting to compile a family tree or chart.  It helps to use a pre-printed four-generation chart (see link below) or enter the data on a genealogy program. FamilySearch offers a free genealogy program.   Always use maiden names for females. 

First, print a four-generation chart. Then, write down your name, the date you were born, and where you were born. Then enter the same information for your father and mother. Use maiden names, if known, for all females. 

Continue entering information on your grandparents and, if you can, your great-grandparents. Ask family members for help, check family bibles, letters etc. Don't worry if there are blanks on your chart.  Finding names, dates and places to fill in those blanks is what genealogy is all about. See the sample pedigree chart to the right.

There are free genealogy software programs that will take you a step beyond paper and pencil. Link here for a comparison of client-based genealogy programs; free and fee-based.  There are also Web-based genealogy programs.

Sample Pedigree Chart

A four generation chart of Jane Miller STIVEN (1883-1960).

A 15th Century Family Tree

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Family Trees come in all shapes and sizes.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000