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Supplies Needed To Get Started

All that is required to begin a family genealogy is a lively curiosity about the past, a dedication to care and accuracy in research, and a few stationery supplies.  Use white paper with holes in the margin to record notes.  Place these pages in a three-ring binder or in file folders.  Some genealogists like to buy printed pedigree charts and family group forms from a bookstore, genealogical  society or from a genealogical supplier.  Each person listed on a pedigree chart is a direct relative.  Brothers and sisters of an ancestor, your grandaunts and granduncles and their descendants are your collateral relatives. 

Record genealogical data with a medium, black ballpoint pen.  Black ink photocopies better than blue ink or pencil, and the medium point copies better than the fine.  Felt pens are not recommended.  It is wise to carry a number of pencils when visiting an archival institution since most prohibit the use of pens near original records.  Enter data on family group forms in pencil while in the archives and then later write over neatly in ink making sure to include appropriate footnotes. 

Carry a small magnifying glass to decipher old handwriting in original and microfilmed documents.  For those keeping their genealogies in binders, use a large brown envelope, with three holes punched on one side to hold such items as loose newspaper clippings and birth, marriage or death certificates to prevent them from getting lost.  Use plastic sleeves punched for inclusion in a binder to store old photographs.  To guard against accidental loss or damage, leave original documents at home and only carry copies on research trips or visits to distant relatives.  Photocopy any newspaper clippings and store the copy, as newspaper is very acidic and has a short shelf life.