Genealogy. Where to start your genealogy research.
This page, has some suggestions on stateside genealogy resources and how one might initiate researching one's ancestry. The place to start is with those who share your ancestry: parents, grandparents and more distant relatives. Family will have stories, records, old photos and artifacts that will provide clues to follow. A relative may already have done some of your genealogy research for you.
Possibly the largest general genealogy resource on the Web is Cyndi’s List. This is really a vast collection of links to more specific sites. A few examples include links for Scotland (with more under “UK & Ireland”), military records, shipping and passenger lists of immigrants and “How to-Tutorials and Guides” for learning the process.
Databases have family trees and link ancestors. They usually contain specific information on places and dates of births, deaths and marriages. Prominent among these is the Church of Latter-Day Saints sponsored Familysearch.com. The Mormons are a well-respected source of genealogical information. Searches correlate names, time period, country and state. Results can lead to family lines going back or forward for generations. Similar databases are available on the Web, most requiring membership or fees. With all of these resources one can't assume absolute accuracy.
Taken every decade since 1790 (most of the 1890 census burned in a fire c. 1920) and available from 1790 to 1940, (the 1940 census on April 2, 2012). Findf out more about the census schedules at the National Archives website which also includes Veterans' records. U.S. census data is an important source of information on ancestors. These are compiled by county. Much is now being made available on CD-ROM and a few counties’ census schedule are on the Internet in both keystroked and scans of the documents. While its much easier to search keystroked lists than microfilm of the original handwritten documents, the spelling of an often semi-legible handwritten name is open to interpretation. Ancestry.com is posting scans of the actual images online, but this requires joining for a fee to access.
County genealogy societies
Much genealogy-related information is stored and research done on a county level. Volunteers compile information such as libraries of relevant books, census schedules, graveyard data, member submitted material and even write books on local topics related to genealogy. Members often swap information about shared ancestors, swapping information by mail or email. Questions about ancestors are posted in newsletters or on website bulletin boards. Newsletters are sent out regularly and volunteers will often research for small fees or for free. If a genealogy society doesn’t have a website it can usually be found through county websites.
Online family sites
Some extended families have privately developed and maintained websites or blogs, often with well researched and documented findings. Naturally, these vary widely in accuracy and volume. Family myths and tall tales are often passed off as fact.
Clan MacMillan International's (CMI) genealogy resources
CMI's website has a Clan history page with a brief overview of Clan MacMillan's 900 year history. The Genealogy introduction page is another good introductory resource. On joining either our branch or CMI one may access the CMI website's members' section which has in-depth content on genealogy, history and Project MAOL, MacMillan (regardless of spelling) and septs' ancestral archives submitted by MacMillans from around the world.
Hire a professional genealogist
Clan MacMillan International's professional historian and genealogist, Graeme M. Mackenzie, MA at Highland Roots has specialized in Scottish and, in particular, Highland genealogy. He has researched the lineage of dozens of MacMillans from around the world, probably the foremost expert on MacMillan history and genealogist.
Short of hiring a professional there's no effortless way to trace family ancestry. And one still needs to verify sources, whether from a digital resource or not.