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==Gather==
 
The first step in any research project is to gather all the information and facts you already know. This is a step that is often overlooked yet sets you up to be successful with your family history. The benefit from knowing as much as possible about your family from the beginning is the ability to better recognize your family when you work in the records. Begin with yourself and write down the information from your memory. Gather home records. Home records are documents such as death certificates, obituaries, funeral programs, marriage records, birth certificates and church baptismal records, family bibles, newspaper articles, diaries and journals, letters, scrapbooks and also include family traditions and stories. Ask close relatives what they know and what home records they might have. Reaching out to distant cousins can help you gather information your close family may not know. Try connecting with distant relatives through social media, and public family trees. And remember, it is never too late to gather family information.
 
You may want to have a formal interview with an elderly relative. Oral interviews have never been easier than they are today. You can reach out in person, on the phone or even in a virtual setting. When conducting interviews:
 
* Set an appointment
* Prepare questions beforehand. You may want to share the questions beforehand too.
* Ask open-ended questions that encourage narrative answers. Stay away from one word answer questions.
* Record the interview with audio or video. The ability to record your relative is right at your fingertips with a smart phone.
* Keep good notes.
* Bring a photo scanner. Your relative might be hesitant to let you borrow photos so come prepare with a portable photo scanner.
 
Once you have gathered as effectively as possible you will want to organize the material. Label the documents and photos, including from whom you obtained the record. Evaluate what has been gathered and ask the following questions of each record:
 
* To whom dies this apply?
* What does it mean?
* Does this evidence fit with what I know?
* Is there conflicting information?
* What clues does this give me for future research?
 
Record the facts in a pedigree chart, genealogy software or in a public tree database. Remember to add the source information and any helpful notes.
'''Additional Resources:'''
*[[Identify What You KnowHow to Start Your Family History]]*[[Gather Family Information]]*[[Oral Personal History]]*[[Creating Oral Histories]]
*[https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/lessons/2a-research-process-gather Research Process - Gather]
*[[Oral Personal History]]
*
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