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Genealogy: Beginners & Basics

For Beginners and Anyone Needing Fundamentals

The Basics; start here.

Major Players

There are several companies, products, and organizations that can be considered major players in the genealogical research world.

 Indicates a fee-based site

Indicates a fee-based site with significant free content

Local Major Players

Guides to Delaware Genealogy Resources

Genealogy for Beginners

Where to start?

Start with yourself and work backwards

  • Record what you already know about yourself and your family
  • Organize, sort, separate (newspapers, photographs, textiles, papers)
  • Contact other family members
  • Keep track of what you have searched and whom you have contacted
  • Document everything
  • Then, do something with all this research: write it up; publish it; pass it on

Getting Organized

Decide how you will organize your information.


Notebooks or file folders?

Computer (Genealogical Software)

Learning and Exploring

There is much to learn about genealogical research!!

You can learn by reading books, by consulting websites, and by sharing information with other researchers.


One easy way is to join a genealogy society. You can join a local genealogy society even if your family is not local. Societies will often have programs and speakers about techniques and resources that are valuable for many places, not just local. You can join a genealogy society in an area where your family lived if the society has newsletters or publications.

Starting Places


  1. Set a goal: one person, one family branch, one type of record, one event
  2. What sources might have information (primary records, compilations, etc.)
  3. Where can you find the sources (online? field visits? letters?)
  4. Search the source and record the essential information
  5. Copy the record for your files
  6. Evaluate
  7. Organize, enter or file the new information


Digital Book Collections

Blog Roll

YouTube Channels

Courses and Lessons

Lessons and courses are offered for a fee by many associations and companies. Sometimes free material is included.

 Indicates a site that is entirely or predominantly fee-based.

Subject Librarian

Rebecca Knight's picture
Rebecca Knight
Associate librarian
Reference and Instructional Services Department
Morris Library, Room 117H

Subjects: U.S. Government Information,
Delaware, census, family studies, RefWorks, APA style, and genealogy.

B.A., History. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 1973.
M.S., Library Science. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 1981.