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|The best thing you can do at this point is to start with what you know and work backward. Gather as much information about your parents and their parents births, deaths, and marriages. Then once you can place them in the time at the early portion of the 1900s, you can begin to access the Federal census records to work your way back father. If you are in your 50s, then you are talking about working back 4 or 5 generations to get to the Civil War period. And yes, I would recommend Ancestry.com to get started.