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Forms and Charts for Gathering New Information

Abstract forms for deeds and wills:
Any researcher familiar with courthouses knows how easy it is to neglect information when searching old county records. An abstract form walks you through the task of extracting vital information from deeds and wills by prompting you to note the important information found on these legal documents. An abstract form is worth its weight in gold when you find yourself in a dusty, dimly-lit courthouse basement with a huge deed book on your lap.

Census extract forms:
As easy as it is to miss information while rooting around in the local courthouse's old deed books, it's just as easy to miss information after you've worn out your eyes staring at census microfilm...hence the creation of census extract forms. These forms (available for all census years from 1790-1920) allow you to make notes of the important information and show families and neighbors as they occur on the microfilm. Any notes or comments you may wish to make can be entered on the back of the form. Census extract forms for 1790-1920 are available at Family Tree Maker Online's Genealogy "How-To" Guide.

Ancestor checklists:
There may come a time when you think you've looked at all available resources for an individual. If you need ideas of other possible sources, an ancestor checklist may provide the nudge you need. You can modify checklists by adding your own checklist items for the locality or ethnicity. You can see a sample ancestor checklist at Rory's Stories.

Problem Worksheet:
If you are having trouble successfully finding information about an individual, you may need to organize your thoughts before searching willy-nilly. A problem worksheet can be created for an individual or a specific problem. If you need to find the birth and marriage records for a person, you can create a worksheet outlining the two problems, and possible avenues of research. A problem worksheet is your place to brainstorm--put down any ideas you have where you might look for answers. Note the results, and be sure to include the specifics in your research log.

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