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Discover Secrets, Surprises & Skeletons with Family History Research


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Type: Article
Prepared by: Jane Biddulph
Word Count: 573 (approx.)
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Have you ever seen a family pedigree? Names and dates in elegant script winding back through time. If you are like most people your family doesn't come with a ready made pedigree. If you love puzzles maybe it is time you delved into the world of genealogy and family history. Digging into the past to discover your family roots is a puzzle that could keep you busy for quite awhile.

Genealogy is the study of lines of descent. Family history, includes genealogy, but goes into biographical research of your ancestors lives. It involves the study of the times and places where your ancestors once lived. It is what puts "flesh on the skeleton" of the data produced through genealogical research.

Along with finding an appreciation for the years of history and geography studied at school, the family history researcher develops many abilities. Among these are deciphering handwriting, the operation of microfiche and microfilm readers, knowledge of obsolete medical terms and occupations, and the ability to recognise the words birth, marriage and death in numerous languages.

Where does one start their research? No monetary investment is required at the beginning of this hobby, but beware ... it is very addictive and there will come a time when you will need to invest some dollars in order to progress.

Are you ready to start? Get a pad of paper and a pen. Write down everything you currently know about your family, using yourself as the central figure of your study. Work backwards, making notes of what you know about your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins ... any relatives you can remember.

Establish as completely as possible the basic genealogical facts;

1. full name (use the maiden name for the women)

2. approximate dates for vital events (birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial)

3. the location of these events

After you have identified everything you know about your family tree, you can start to gather missing pieces. Now is the time to chat with family members. Compare your memories with those of your siblings, parents, cousins and grandparents. Get out old family photos and go through them together. This can sometimes stimulate memories. Older relatives can provide a treasure trove of knowledge.

When you have exhausted (literally) all your relatives, it will be the time for you to begin your hunt in the myriad resources available. A good place to venture first is your local library for books on family history research. Planning at this point will be essential. You now have newspapers, military records, directories, indexes, electoral rolls, vital records, church records, court records and probate records ... just to name a few ... to find. Familiarise yourself with the available resources, including the Internet. There are many great sites on the net that will be valuable to your research. Some are only accessible by subscription but there are tons of great sites with information ... for FREE!!!

The trail you follow will be your own choice. If you love puzzles the satisfaction you will feel as you unearth your ancestors, will eclipse that of any other puzzle you have ever solved. Happy hunting.

As a copywriter Jane Biddulph forms words into ads that create interest, desire and action - From small PPC adverts to sales copy for entire web sites. As a ghost writer Jane creates articles on a multitude of topics. When she isn't working, she's writing just for fun. Jane's other passions include family history research, vintage clothing, antiques ... most anything nostalgic.

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