I have been researching my family tree for many years now. I began when all enquiries had to be made via regular post. It was a long process, drawn out and for the most part, totally fruitless.
I had heard tell of vague relations who were interested in their family tree but it seemed that they wanted to either keep their hard work to themselves (I can understand this in a way) or never bothered communicating with anyone else.. After all, if you've managed to find a birth/marriage or death certificate and paid the fee, then there is a reluctance to offer it or the valuable information it contains, away to anyone else for free. Either that or they feel that no one else would be interested.
One elderly relative had researched her entire life and had a gold mine of information. She passed away suddenly and who knows what became of her research?
My father came from a really large family and although they loved each other deeply, they just didn't keep in touch. I grew up not even knowing the names of many of my cousins. I only knew the names of my grandfather and grandmother. My family emigrated so that was the family connection entirely broken.
I had some old photos but I didn't know who they were of, they were just kept in a tin.
Then came the arrival of the internet! Documents began to be available on line!
I researched for a long time on my own and gathered more information that filled out my genealogical research. However, there were lots of gaps in my knowledge. I wondered so much what various ancestors had looked like. I wanted so much to find out more.
I thought more and more about how I would feel if all my research was lost. I wondered how I could share the information with people who shared the same ancestors as myself.
It is important to take those first steps to share your information. Share it with those relatives that you have contact with and create a family tree on as many sites as you can. There are a lot of free places on the internet which allow you to create a tree on their site.
You will be amazed at how many people are researching the same family names as you are. Join forums and take part in the conversation threads. If you can help someone else, you will be surprised at how many will help you in return. Post your photographs. There are regular members on a lot of forums who have expansive knowledge in various areas, such as military or dating old photos who are often only too happy to help others.
Over the past year, since joining a lot of sites, I have gradually heard from many of my first cousins who contacted me via various websites. They put me in touch with other cousins until the family, once again has been reunited. They were all researching the family history too. We now swap what knowledge, stories or family rumours that we have heard of. Photographs of long lost family members have been swapped. We've been able to put our heads together and identify old photographs. Little snippets of information are now able to be researched. All of this combined information has not only expanded our knowledge but it has brought a wonderful feeling of belonging to a large family again. I can almost feel our ancestors smiling down on us with a look of approval. Pooling our knowledge has meant that we can now trace the family tree back to 1590 and are working on going back further.
I recently received a photograph from a lady in New Zealand who wondered if an old photograph of a wedding group could possibly be anything to me. It was my own mother and father's wedding and provided an image of my grandfather of whom no photos were known to exist.
If you can trust enough to share your information, you will be rewarded a hundred-fold.
Jenny Randall hopes that this article helps you in your research. For more information on genealogy and find some quality tried an tested resource links visit the website at http://www.the-abbotts-of-canterbury.com
Free uk census lookups provided to those who put the words "Ezine Article" in the subject heading of their email when contacting me.
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