Genealogy is a Hobby That Lasts a Lifetime. You have probably grown up on stories about your famous or infamous ancestors. Haven't you wondered if the stories are true? Is it possible you are related to a famous historical figure? Wouldn't you like to know for sure who your ancestors are and where they all came from? You can find those answers when you delve into genealogy which is the study of your ancestry. When you want to trace your family's history, the logical place to start is with your oldest living relatives like your grandmother and grandfather. Quiz them for details about their own grandparents as well as their cousins, parents, and siblings. Try and find out as much as you can from them and use these clues to start further investigations. You might even get lucky and find a copy of an old family Bible that has birth and death records as well as old photos and naturalization papers.
When you are tracing your family roots you may even run into a distant family member who is doing family research. It's a popular hobby, so don't be surprised; you can help each other out by exchanging notes. You will find the internet is an absolute wealth of information when you want to search your family history. Many old historical records have been scanned or transcribed and uploaded onto the internet for you to search through. In years past, you would have traveled to far off places or hired a researcher to dig up these old records. Now you can do it from the comfort of your own home although sometimes you have to pay in order to access certain databases. To use one of these databases, enter your ancestor's name and any other data you know, like a birth date, into a form and then run a search. You may get excited when you see the results, but don't assume just because the information matches that it is actually the ancestor you are looking for. Misspellings in old record books are very common. Not only that, some of them recorded ages by the actual age rather than birthdates. That can cause the age to be off by a year or so depending upon when the record book entry was made.
Another thing to keep in mind is that even though your ancestors may have stayed put, the name of the city, territory, or state may have changed over the years. For example, people who were born in the state of Virginia before it was divided are now found in West Virginia's records. So if you are having a difficult time finding your ancestors, be sure to see if the name of their location was changed at any time since they lived there. One good place to conduct your research is the USGenWeb Project. Their site is divided into various state and county websites. There is also a section for help in locating immigrants. This website is a repository for user submitted data and it might be in the form of family trees, birth records, death records, and marriage certificates. You may even be able to find census records here. If you don't have the time or interest in doing the research yourself, you can usually find someone on this site who can help you with conducting your search. If you already know where a particular ancestor was born, married, or died, then you can go to that local area to begin your search.
You can try the courthouse in the area or the department of vital records for the state. It is even possible that you can get information from the church your ancestor attended. These documents can lend additional clues since birth certificates contain both parents' names and as well as the mother's maiden name. Marriage certificates also note the parents of both parties. Death records might also contain the names of parents, the spouse, and children. You can also search the social security death index. You can access one of these search engines online for free. This allows you to find an ancestor who applied for a social security card. You can pay a fee and get a copy of your ancestor's social security card application. This should give you their parents' names, where they lived when they applied, and the place and date of their birth. Another place to search is death records from obituaries, funeral homes, and cemeteries. This is helpful if you know where the person died. You can search local cemetery transcriptions online and contact the area funeral homes. Obituary records are very useful because these usually list a lot of helpful information that summarizes the person's life such as where they are buried, and the names of children, the spouse, and parents. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you start digging into your family tree, you will be hooked. It is a lot of fun and when you make a breakthrough it can be very satisfying. Plus it is nice to know if you really are related to a famous historical person. Genealogy is a great hobby to take up and is one that usually lasts for years since your family tree is constantly growing and you can pass on information to younger generations to come.
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