Genealogy refers to the discovering, recording, and tracking of ancestry, and other family relations. Studying family history adds to the historical, environmental, and social background that generally helps to fill out a family tree at times when other documents aren’t available or require sociological explanation.
Why everyone’s so interested in genealogy
Genealogy is the key to answering many historical questions about a family’s way of life and other pertinent details including its traditions, medical history, overseas origins, and the role the family played in their society. Sometimes people discover their relatives were famous, or possibly notorious.
You and your family members are the direct descendants of your ancestors, the fruit of their existence. Every family tree is unique and worthy of preservation and being passed down from generation to generation.
Internet research into genealogy
If you’ve never done any family research before, you may find all the information on the Internet overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start or how to begin.
Going through the process one step at a time can be an exciting and intellectually stimulating venture. There’s something about discovering your ancestral roots that can offer you a whole new perspective on who you are and possibly even affect your future.
Getting started on your quest
Everyone knows something, even the tiniest bit of information, about their family … so consider that your starting point. Collect everything you can regarding photos, documents, or other pertinent information you may have.
If you must, begin with yourself. Write down all the basic essential information you know, including your full name, birth date, where you were born, and the full names of both your parents. Next, do the same thing with your spouse and all your children.
Essential family documents
If they’re not already in your possession, you’ll need to order the birth, marriage, and death certificates for each member of your family. You can easily discover even more information and how to obtain important U.S. records by visiting the Vital Records Information website.
However, understand that it could take several months or more to obtain these particular documents once they’re requested from your state. But it’s absolutely important for you to obtain these historic items to further your research.
There are several paid sites online where you can hire a research team to explore your family history for you, if you prefer.
If you don’t have a pedigree chart, you can create one simply by writing down the full names of both your parents and all their essential information, including their birth, marriage, and death dates on your ancestry chart. It’s crucial that all the data is correct.
So you may need to interview certain members of your family, such as your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If that’s not possible, perhaps you can find everything you need by going through family papers.
There’s a great deal of family history that’s been recorded in the last 80 years, so it’s quite possible to find a big part of what you’re looking for, especially since 1930. Be sure to gather the certificates of both sets of your parents as well as your grandparents’ records.
Creating your family ancestral tree takes time and patience, but it’s something sacred you can pass on to your descendants so they can enjoy the bigger picture of your unique family history as well.