By Frankie Meyer
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Start your family history research by first collecting documents and photographs that pertain to yourself, your parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins. Include interviews, too, especially of the oldest family members.
Before long, you will realize that you are also learning about our nation's history from a personal point of view.
As new questions arise, check online sites for background information, indexes, digital records and clues for further research. Visit local libraries and order resources through interlibrary loan.
Need to check courthouse records of a distant area? Visit a local LDS Family History Center and order microfilm copies.
Plan your trips around Missouri to include a stop at the Library Center in Springfield, Hulston Civil War Library at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield near Republic, the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia, the National Archives and Records Administration branch in Kansas City and the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence.
Did your ancestors live in Oklahoma? Stop at the Grove Public Library. For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Historical Society in Oklahoma City.
Longer vacations could include the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., or the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Your efforts will be rewarded with unique details. From the National Records and Archives Administration Civil War pension files of a Quick ancestor, I learned his middle name, the birth date of his wife and her maiden name.
I also learned that he was 5 feet 6 inches tall and had blue eyes and light brown hair. In addition, I learned about the battles in which he fought.
From the Revolutionary War pension files of a Yaden ancestor, I learned that he first fought on the British side, was captured, changed sides and became a drummer for the American troops. He described in detail the battles in which he fought and the areas where his company marched.
From research at the Midwest Genealogy Center, I learned that one of my Waldo ancestors fought in the French and Indian War and had a premonition one night that he was going to die the next day. He told his family about his premonition the next morning and kissed them farewell.
During the day, he marched with his troop to another town. After arriving there, he was standing in a doorway of a blockhouse when he was struck by an arrow that ended his life. From the genealogy resources, I also learned about his wife's family history.
Suggestions or queries? Contact Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168 or email frankie firstname.lastname@example.org.