STEP 1. Chart the Ancestors you already know.

Talk or write to parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, anyone in your family who knows about your family tree. Print out this Ancestor Chart and bring it with you, have them help you fill in as much information as you can.

STEP 2. Next, begin filling in information on Family Group sheets. Start with your own family - your parents and siblings. Then, go on to your grandparents and great-grandparents. Each couple, with or without children, are a family group.


The basic research records you can use are "Vital Records" (birth, marriage, death) and the US Census. Use any family records you can get a hold of, then search through the on-line databases (FamilySearch and Ancestry are just two). Searching on-line is a bit of a challenge sometimes because family names are often transcribed incorrectly. Names change or are misspelled frequently. The Santa Maria Valley Genealogical Society has members that are well-versed in how to make these searches.


How-to information on starting your genealogical research can be found at the following sites:

FamilySearch Center Introduction

Genealogy Research Forms  (FamilySearch Wiki)

FamilySearch Free search engine with numerous databases

FamilySearch Wiki Help pages, beginner help, research outlines, strategies and much more

Santa Maria FamilySearch Center  Open several days of the week with a helpful staff!!  Many resources are available through the Family History Center. 908 Sierra Madre, 805-928-4722, ca_santamaria@familyhistorymail.org

A member of SMVGS may be contacted through the Santa Maria Public Library at 805-925-0994 to make an appointment or email us directly at roots@smvgs.org.

The Santa Maria Public Library has full access to the Ancestry databases (normally a fee-based service). SMVGS members can help you get started using the service on the many computers available at the public library. A library card is required.