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Beginning Genealogy
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Beginning Genealogy

Genealogy is the study of your family lineage. You are as you are because of the deeds and lives of your ancestors. I have often heard people say, "Who cares? They are dead!" For many of us, however, it is a curiosity and a quest. The journey backwards in time creates a hunger for more and more information.

One Big family

Regardless of race or country of birth, we are all connected and all related. Humanity was nearly wiped out 70,000 years ago by the Mount Toba eruption and scientists believe we may have been down to as few as 5,000 breeding families. Since that time, we have recovered, become billions and now cover the surface of the earth.

Your Family Line

It is our particular line that interests us. We can only go back so far as written records. For the majority of European descendants for instance, that is usually to the 15th and 16th centuries. Church records are your greatest resource for ancient ancestry. Although some dream of being descended from kings and queens, most of us are from humble people who could neither read or write.

Early Records

Most records available today were written by clerks who simply recorded names as they sounded. That one fact makes searching your family backwards a real task. Settlers coming to North America for instance, often had their names Anglicized and only vaguely resembled the original family name. After that, the spelling of family names often changed with every generation, depending of which clerk recorded it.

Where to start

Start with all the information you can find on your parents and grandparents. That is where the records will start showing up. Birth and marriage records usually give the parent's names and census records will show the entire family plus approximate birth dates. Search for web pages that will give you tips and hints on how to begin your genealogy quest.

You may be surprised

Keep an open mind. You never know what you are going to find whether it be kings or killers, saints or sinners, rich or poor. In my case, I have two brothers who are my great uncles and hung for murder. I also have at least ten ancestors executed for witchcraft.

Costs

Don't start by throwing money at it. For instance you might know that you are descended from John Smith of Dublin. If you want the records for possible matches, you might find that you have to pay for thousands of John Smith records, just to sort through to see if your John Smith is one of them. Even then, you may or may not find your information. Some of your best bets are Mormon genealogy sites. You don’t have to be Mormon to be in the records. Larger towns usually have a Mormon genealogy center where you can find millions of families on microfiche. All around you, there are cousins related to you who are also searching your family line. Much of what you need, they may already have. There are provincial/state genealogy groups that are usually a great help. Graveyard, census, birth, death, immigration, marriage records await you.

Be patient, persistent and you will be rewarded. Now, go find your saints and sinners.


Street Talk

This sounds like fun!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yes, kind of cool how they can trace us all back to one grandmother. I don't know if they still have them but you used to be able to buy a kit, send in a sample DNA test and they would tell you the travels of your ancestors. Never too late to get into genealogy.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
S. Gray  

I would love to research my family tree, as well as, have my genetics tested to see how much of whose blood I carry with me. Great article!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yes, kind of cool how they can trace us all back to one grandmother. I don't know if they still have them but you used to be able to buy a kit, send in a sample DNA test and they would tell you the travels of your ancestors. Never too late to get into genealogy.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
S. Gray  

I thought there was a way to check your genealogy from home...thanks for the tip!

  
  about 8 years ago
William6  

Genealogy is a fascinating subject for real. I have been working with it for over 10 years now, and always I find something else to intrigue me. Good article and anyone just starting out should take your suggestions at heart.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, William. Been doing my genealogy for nearly 20 years. It never ends, does it.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
William6  

No and I hope it never does--on a sadder note--here in Georgia they are closing the Georgia Historical Archives due to State government budget cuts.Appointment only, and then only if staff is on hand.

  
  about 8 years ago

That is really unfortunate, William. Is there a Mormon genealogy office nearby? Another spot you may have already tried is the George Census and Vital Stats. The chat would not allow me to send you the links. I will try a personal message.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Family Search. Org www. censusfinder. com/georgia. htm vitalrec. com/ga. HTML Remove spaces

Reply
  about 8 years ago
William6  

Yes .Thank you Dave. I have it already. Oh just found out an update. Business as usual until July 2013. They cut back the hours to 3 days a week. In the end of July 2013 all records will be transferred over to the University of Georgia or Georgia State. Thanks for the address though

  
  about 8 years ago
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