Every research project begins at home. Whether you are looking for information for the first time or searching through your personal research folders, your home is a valuable source of family information.

Take time to look for records you might already have. Use the following list as a guide to sources of information that you might find in your home or in the home of a relative.

          • Birth: Birth certificate, adoption record, baby book

          • Citizenship: Alien registration, deportment papers, naturalization papers

          • Civil and legal activity: Bonds, contracts, guardian papers, summons or subpoena

          • Death: Death certificate, funeral book, memorial cards, obituary, will

          • Divorce: Paperwork

          • Employment: Apprenticeship records, disability records, income tax records, pension records, retirement records, Social Security card, union records

          • Everyday life: Biography, journal or diary, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, scrapbooks

          • Family: Bibles, bulletins or newsletters, coats of arms, histories, lineages or genealogies

          • Health: Hospital or medical records, immunization records, insurance papers

          • Household items: Dishes or silverware, engraved items, quilts, tapestries or needlework

          • Land and property ownership: Abstracts of title, deeds, estate records, land grants, mortgages or leases, water rights

          • Licenses: Business or occupation, driver or motor vehicles, firearms, hunting or fishing, passports or visas, professional

          • Marriage: Anniversary, wedding announcement, wedding book

          • Military service: Disability records, discharge records, National Guard records, pension records, selective service records, service medals or ribbons, sword or firearms, uniform

          • Religious activity: Baptismal or christening record, blessing, ministerial record, ordination, confirmation record, church records

          • School: Awards, graduation diplomas, honor roll, report cards, transcripts, yearbooks

Barry J. Ewell is author of "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History" and founder of MyGenShare.com, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.