Be sure to evaluate the source of your information. Remember, you can't believe everything you read!
everyone has two family names: your father's, but also your mother's. Don't feel you must restrict your research to just your
paternal family tree.
Search as many kinds of records as you can find to document the lives of your family back to
Study the lives of all family members, including aunts, uncles, and cousins--not just direct ancestors.
Look for changing surnames. Some African Americans changed surnames several times. (McClerklin, McClurkin, McLurkin
is a prime example).If you can't find your family in a census record, but you know the family's location at the time of the
census, look for first names and approximate ages of family members. You may find a match.
If your ancestor is not
listed in an index, check the original records anyway. Some indexes do not include African Americans.
that some old records may have described your ancestors in terms used at the time that are not flattering or appropriate.
African Americans may be listed in "colored" registers. You may also see the abbreviation "Col"
next to your ancestor's name. If your ancestor is not in a "colored" register, try the "white" register.
Your ancestor's race may not have been reported accurately.