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Step 2 – Family Group Sheets

Once you have filled in your pedigree chart with as much information as you know, you are ready to take the next step which is to fill in your Family Group Sheets. A family group sheet is a form used for each couple listed on your pedigree chart. You may download a blank family group sheet and you can see one that is filled in.

You will have a separate group sheet for each couple showing their children, the children’s relationships to each other (oldest to youngest), their birth dates and places, and who they married and when. You keep a record of the sources you used to determine the names, dates, and places on the family group sheet. For every fact, you should have a source.

If you are filling out the family group sheet by hand, the sources should be listed in the notes section at the end of the sheet. If you are using a genealogy computer program, the notes you enter will print at the end of the sheet. There is a section on our website called citing your sources that will give you details on how to cite any fact in your genealogy. For now, here are several examples of how to cite a death record and a marriage record.

Death Certificate for George Franklin Hughes, 22 September 1924, File No. 36754, Missouri State Board of Health. Certified copy in possession of author.

Certificate of Marriage, Jonathan Thomas to Patience Jones, 12 June 1782, Montgomery County, Virginia. Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office, Christiansburg, Virginia. Copy in possession of Karen Alexander, Houston, Texas.

Use a second family group sheet if there is a second marriage and list the children of that marriage. You will eventually want to have a family group sheet for each of your ancestor’s siblings, recording their children and who these children married. It is important to keep track of the children of your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. (your aunts, uncles, and cousins). If you should hit a brick wall in researching your direct line ancestors (those ancestors on your pedigree chart), you might be able to gain more information by researching the siblings of your ancestor and go back in time through one of their lines. 

Many of you will want to use a computer software program to enter your information. Using computer software, you can fill in your pedigree chart and then print it out to take with you. A few of you may want to download your genealogical information on to a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, or electronic handheld information device) and take your palm held computer with you when you do research. Genealogy software is available for PDAs.

An excellent free software program for downloading is PAF (Personal Ancestorial File) is available on Family Search.

Click here for reviews of various genealogy software programs.

Help Me! I have information from my great-aunt but I am having trouble filing in my pedigree chart – things just don’t make sense, there seems to be a missing generation.

Help Me! I have all this data, can you put it into a genealogy program for me?

To ask these or similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.

Step 3 - Talk to your family