Magazine offers special issue to help beginners trace history

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Today, Americans’ fascination with family history is at an all-time high &045; a craze Time magazine has even dubbed &uot;Roots Mania.&uot;

Every day hundreds of &uot;beginners&uot; take up pad and pencil and start the remarkable journey of tracing their family’s history. A lot of these new researchers will be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who is already research savvy and who can offer directions and tips on exactly how to proceed.

But if you are among the number who must strike out bravely on their own, take heart! Help may be as close as your local newsstand.

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Family Tree Magazine is now offering a special issue titled Trace Your Family History, a beginner’s guide to genealogy. The entire issue is packed with encouraging articles and easy-to-use tips on starting your family history search.

Think two days is too little time to make significant progress tracing your family tree? This issue offers 15 simple steps to make a 48-hour weekend really count. And while even the authors admit they’ve had to bend a few rules of methodical genealogy research to fit into this initial schedule, the article itself provides good tips and a clear approach to get you started on your journey.

Most of their work does depend heavily on the beginner having access to a computer too. But don’t let this deter you. Check out computer access at your local library or borrow some time on a friend’s machine. The magazine’s offer of free downloads of family group sheets and five-generation ancestor charts makes it worth the effort immediately.

The family group charts are also provided in the magazine itself and may simply be copied directly from the magazine for use in your own files.

Wary of using a computer for research? Relax and get a lesson in researching, organizing and sharing your family history via a home computer in the section titled Computer Genealogy 101.

One article details the best free web sites for beginning genealogists, another explains how to use census records to find ancestors. A third teaches you how to unlock the resources of the world’s largest genealogy library from your hometown &045; or even from your own home computer.

A research dictionary covering essential genealogy terms and tools is provided along with secrets for successful courthouse record research. Yet another section provides tips from an expert photo sleuth for piecing together the stories told by your old family photographs.

When you have exhausted the leads at the local library and online, an actual journey to your ancestor’s old stomping grounds may be in order.

There is a delightful article discussing the inevitable research trip planned as a family history vacation for the entire family.

Build your knowledge base quickly with their free genealogy glossary, free family tree forms, research cheat sheets, beginner book list and software roundup just for newbies.

While there are endless books available to get you started in the right direction (and plenty of them that you will definitely what to explore as you get more proficient in your research), you may only need an inexpensive copy of this magazine to set you off on the right foot!

Check your local newsstand or favorite bookseller to buy your own copy or visit

to have it sent to your door for a very modest fee.

But be aware … genealogy is VERY addicting. Once you start the search you may not ever want to stop! So let the fun begin. Happy hunting!


… Sharon Campbell (Fort Worth, Texas,

) is looking for information on EDWIN CAMPBELL and/or his spouse FATIMA MITCHELL/OWEN CAMPBELL. Her maiden name may have been Mitchell or Owen. Family legend has Edwin and Fatima living in Peoria, MS.

Edwin was known as &uot;Big Ed&uot; and he was very active in the Masonic Lodge. Census records show Edwin and Fatima in Pontotoc County, MS, in 1860 and in Tallahatchie County in 1870. By the 1880 census Edwin was living in Ellis County, Texas. Fatima died in 1879. No corroboration has been found that the couple lived in Peoria. One of their children, THOMAS FRANKLIN CAMPBELL, is Sharon’s great grandfather. Can any reader provide any information on this couple?

… James & Mary Ellen Stanley (1098 Star Road, Brandon, MS 39042,601-825-2316, email

) are looking for descendants of A. V. & MARY JENSY FLEMING WILLIAMSON to attend a family reunion at Archusa Park in Quitman, MS, on Oct. 11.

A pot luck lunch is planned and they are encouraging any relatives that might be available to come. For further information contact the Stanleys at the above address and numbers.

Please send your announcements and queries to FAMILY TREES, 900 Main Street, Natchez, MS 39120 or email to

. All queries printed free of charge. We look forward to hearing from you!