Tips To Find Your Ancestry
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Tips to Find Your Ancestry

If you want to find your ancestry, chances are you are going to need some help.

I have to tell you I often sought help to find my ancestry when I first started doing research for my family tree. There is certainly no shame in that.

In fact, even after doing family ancestry research for years, I still request help from time to time.

There are just times in a family history search when you’re going to get stuck.

It’s going to happen – so realize that sometimes you’ll have to get inventive in order to get rolling again.

Over the years, I’ve developed ways to un-stick myself when I run into a brick wall.

Honestly, you sometimes just have to use your imagination, but you also have to pay attention to make sure you stay on the right trail to find your ancestry.

I am a big one for gathering all the surrounding facts about someone.

It’s important that you keep track of what you KNOW to be true about a person. Then use those facts to verify that you’re on the right trail.

Just for example, if I search for my own name, but maybe don’t know the middle name or exact birth date or place, about 65 possibilities come up. If I add the middle name, the place of birth and the actual date, there is only one choice.

You will sometimes find the record or transcription of the record is wrong. That’s why it’s so important to have supporting information.

I recently searched for someone on whom I knew the exact birth place and date, but the record that came up – that was supposedly an official document – came up four days off.

This, sadly, is not all that uncommon.

So, you must gather all the information you can and use it to help you verify who the right person is to add to your tree.

Using siblings’ names is good, parents actual names and especially a mother’s maiden name.

As you accumulate facts, it will be easier to establish that you’re on the right trail.

Important things to find are parents’ full names, any maiden names, sibling names, birth dates, birth places, occupations, brothers’ children’s names, even cities they lived in.

Get verified facts up and down the tree – and use these to guide your choices.

While you most certainly will run into pieces of information that do not match, it will not be that ALL the pieces don’t match.

You must look carefully at all aspects of a record.

I cannot tell you how many times a person has had the same names for the parents as well as some of their siblings - or where someone was building a family tree and mistakenly took relatives from two different families and combined them.

The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that just because someone has a person listed in their tree that they have done all the research correctly.

Please - don’t fall for that.

I’ve seen trees where the listed parents were 5 years old! Those people were not LOOKING, they were not verifying their data - they were just trying to build a tree fast. Anyone can do that.

It’s getting it done correctly that’s sometimes the hard part.

It takes work to build your family tree, but the satisfaction of knowing you have the correct people in your tree is well worth the effort.

Gather facts that you trust and then USE them.

Also keep track of “facts” that you find which you know are incorrect so you know NOT to be lead astray by them. Be inventive when things slow down in your search.

Use your imagination for how something could have been and use your known facts to guide you.

If none of that works, then reach out and locate someone to help you find your ancestry.

There are many willing people around.

Street Talk

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