- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

Looking to find your own relatives? Start with a good basic book on genealogy research, say most researchers. A number are available at local libraries, including:

"The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America" by George B. Everton, editor, 10th edition (Everton Publishers, 2002, $59.95 hardcover)
"Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (F&W; Publications, Inc., 1999, $17.99 paper)
"Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources" by Alice Eichholz, editor, and William Dollarhide (MyFamily.com, Inc., 1992, $49.95 hardcover)
From there, you'll want to interview your relatives. Pedigree charts and questionnaire forms are available from a number of online sites, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' familysearch.org, which also provides Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software for free.
Most genealogy libraries publish their own guides, which are made available to researchers for free or a nominal fee. Their catalogs are often online, even though their collections may not be.
U.S. National Archives: 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday; 8:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Saturday. 202/501-5400. See archives.gov/research_room/ genealogy /index.html.
Library of Congress: Thomas Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Room LJ G42. 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Friday, Saturday. See lcweb.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/.
The Library of Congress also provides access to a number of subscription genealogical databases, such as AncestryPlus or Heritage Quest. Its American Memory site (memory.loc.gov) provides documents and images related to local history. The library's catalog is also online.
Daughters of the American Revolution: 1776 D Street, NW. Library open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. 202/879-3229. DAR online catalog is available at dar.org/library/onlinlib.html.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Library: 10000 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; extended hours 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. 301/587-0042
In addition to the resources already described and a number of databases related to genealogy in Western Europe, the Family History Library offers computer access to the records of the Freedman's Bank, a savings and trust chartered by Congress in 1865 to benefit ex-slaves. The Freedman's Bank Records is a searchable database, compiled as a community service project by prisoners at the Utah State Penitentiary, that documents several generations of black Americans immediately following the Civil War. The records of the Freedman's Bank can also be purchased by calling 800/537-5971.

Don't forget county courthouse records, which include vital information about births and deaths, marriages, probate, and tax records.
Cemetery records can also be helpful. If you think you have a relative buried in Congressional Cemetery, go to congressionalcemetery.org for links to obituaries, newspaper files, and death certificates.
General Web sites can also help guide the search. They include: cyndislist.com, rootsweb.com, usgenweb.com, genealogytbox.com, ancestry.com, familytreemaker.com, geneaolgy.com, afrigeneas.com, ellisisland.org, archives.gov, loc.gov.

Lisa Rauschart

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