My name is Carolyn Caplinger. I was born in Springfield, Missouri and moved to Marshfield, Missouri when I was six months old. I grew up in Marshfield and graduated from Marshfield High School in 1990. I attended Evangel College and finally graduated from Evangel University in 2006.
My mother Hazel died in 1994 after dealing with medical problems nearly all her life. She had begun researching our family history while I was in high school. About a year after my mother died my sisters, my father and I went through the things in their house in Marshfield. Since I had a computer I decided to take all of my mom’s family history notes. Later on I also took all of my parent’s family pictures.
In the next couple of years I started studying the genealogy hobby. I read several books and learned a lot about doing family history research. The genealogy “bug” had bitten me. Over the years I have expanded my mother’s research. In addition I also started researching my husband’s family history. Most of his father’s family lines have never been researched before so those are the most challenging. The last few years I haven’t done as much family history research as I have been busy being a parent. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house I can get back to my research and share it with others.
If you are interested in researching your family history here are some tips to get you started.
- Start with what you know. Ask your parents what they know about their parents, grandparents, etc. Then talk to your aunts, uncles and grandparents. Talk to your oldest living relatives first. If you can try to record those conversations as it is easy to get lost in the stories and forget to take notes.
- Don’t trust all printed resources such as family histories. They are a great find but they should only be used as a guide and starting point. There is always a chance of errors so although you may be eager to just enter the names, birth, marriage and death dates, you should verify everything in the book. The same goes for family trees you find online. Again use them as a guide but verify everything yourself.
- Use only original documents as your sources where possible. Birth, death, and marriage records obtained directly from the courthouse are your best source. Secondary sources such as family Bibles are okay but always try to verify the vital statistic with an original source if possible. Obituaries are only as good as the person providing the information. Even obituaries can contain errors.
- There are many family stories that have been passed down. However, not all of them are true. Many families have stories about how they are related to someone famous. Other stories you might hear are where someone did something that actually sounds too unusual to be true. For example, my husband’s great grandfather shot his wife and then shot and killed himself. I wouldn’t have believe it if I had heard someone tell me that. However the story is true. The story was printed in the newspaper at the time which is where it was found by someone who shared it with me. Ask lots of questions. Where did the person hear the story? Has he or she seen proof of the story or proof of the connection to the famous person? Ask who, what, when, where types of questions. Investigate the story just like a reporter would.
Thanks for visiting my web site. If you have any questions about my family lines or how to find something please feel free to contact me using the form below.
Carolyn (Homeister) Caplinger