10 Tips for Genealogy Scrapbooking

Be Discerning
People research genealogy records in the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. © GEORGE FREY/Reuters/Corbis

Years ago, a well-meaning new addition to my family presented my parents with the crest bearing our family name. Unfortunately, no one had ever told her that our moniker was altered from Khouri to Cory upon crossing the United States border, so that crest ... well, it had zero bearing on us. My mom, being the sweet soul that she is, kept her lips sealed and hung it on the wall all the same. My point is that, much like the beloved game of "telephone," information invariably gets warped over time. This is not to say that you shouldn't start with word-of-mouth accounts and interviews. Just don't commit them to paper unless you've done a wee bit o' digging to confirm their validity. Resources like Ancestry and Find a Grave come highly recommended by seasoned genealogists for their fact-providing services. They can verify correct name spelling, birth/death dates and burial sites.

Still, sometimes it's necessary to take the old-fashioned route to find the details you desire. "There is now a great deal of information online; however many times you still need to get the documents to ensure that you have the right family," explains genealogist and scrapbooker Nancy Hill. "There are some wonderful genealogy libraries around." Some U.S. key spots include Family History Library (the largest genealogical library in the world), run by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints in Utah and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana which has special holdings for those researching British, Canadian and African-American ancestors, as well as other records.