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When doing family history research, evaluate the results of your inquiry and share your information with others.

When doing family history research, a vital part of the process is evaluating the results of your inquiry and sharing your information with others.

I ask myself the question, "What do I see?" Sometimes what I find is only a clue; other times, it's a gold mine. I record what I learn in my research log. At this point, based on the information I've gathered, I decide where I want to go and start with step one again.

FamilySearch.org encourages as you evaluate your information, consider the following questions:

  • Did I find the information I was looking for?
  • Is the information complete?
  • Does the information conflict with other information I have?
  • Is the source of the information credible?
Transfer any new information you find to your pedigree charts and group records. It's important to include the source, which is valuable in helping you "resolve problems with conflicting information. For example, if you have a birth record that gives one birth date, and an obituary gives another birth date for the same person, you will want to determine which date came from the more authoritative source (usually the source made closest to the time of the event)," FamilySearch.org states.

Next, organize your records for easy access.

FamilySearch.org points out that there are "a number of computer programs that can help you organize your records on your home computer." If you are just starting, consider the following tips provided on the website:

  • Keep pedigree charts numbered and arranged numerically.
  • Keep family group records in alphabetical order by the husband's name.
  • Keep notes, research logs and copies of documents behind the related family group record.

Editor's note: The original version of this story posted on April 27, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on March 19, 2014, and attribution to original sources were added. A version of this column also appeared in the print edition of the Deseret News on August 8, 2013. The Deseret News demands accuracy in attribution and sourcing and considers any lapses to be a serious breach of ethics. The Deseret News is no longer publishing Barry J. Ewell's writings.

Barry J. Ewell is author of Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History and founder of MyGenShare.com, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.