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Genealogy Video - Just One Word Can Unlock a World


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Type: Article
Prepared by: Jane Lehmann
Word Count: 788 (approx.)
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When it comes to genealogy video, a single word can make a world of difference. A single word can be like a compass direction, or the combination to a safe. The right word and the right combination of circumstances can start a journey, unlock a world. Because like all genealogy, genealogy video is a quest and a quest whose goal is often obscured.

So, what do we mean by "one word can unlock a world"?

Take a simple example. Let's say that you are researching your grandmother for a genealogy video you have in mind. Let's say you find out Grandmother's maiden name. That will help you track down a whole bunch of ancestors through, say, old census records. It can reveal even more. Take the Italian name "Fortunato" - the word means fortunate. It was very common for the Catholic clergy to give orphans that name. If you have a name like that turn up in your searches it is likely that you have an orphan. Sadly, it probably means that you cannot go back any further.

One word may be a place on a map. Can you find out the town where your ancestors came from? Knowing the town may help you discover customs and traditions; history; birth, death and marriage records; and maybe even distant cousins. It's a great bonus to include footage of the old family town, and maybe some relatives still living there, in your genealogy video.

It maybe that during your research for your genealogy video, you discover a cause of death. With all the recent discoveries in genetic medicine, the condition which caused an ancestor's death could make an important difference to someone's medical diagnosis or even treatment. One word about a cause of death could also link a person to a specific time and place - Spanish Flu in 1919? An industrial accident perhaps? More than one death was connected to dust inhalation during the Great Depression.

A single word - the answer to a simple question - can also help uncover a personality that you may be featuring as part of your genealogy video. What about their favorite song? Knowing the answer to that might reveal the subject's lighter side and help locate them in the culture of their time. Maybe you can find it and download it! Sometimes a particular song can help define a person - the Paul Anka song "My Way" speaks to more than one person who forged their own path in life.

That word might be a number too. Let's say that one word is the number of children born to a grandmother. Children mean cousins. And cousins can be your best friends when it comes to your genealogy video. If you are wondering where all the family photographs went, more than likely they are they are with one of your cousins. And if you get really lucky, one of your cousins will turn out to be a genealogist with a whole trove of information that you can use in your genealogy video.

Another head start provided by a single word is the name of a passenger vessel. Ocean liners have records, passenger lists, ports of embarkation and destination - even personal information about the passengers. From ship lists you can find out if your ancestors were literate, what village they came from, how much money they had in their pocket on embarkation, who they were staying with then they arrived, and who they traveled with.

In the military context, that one golden word may be a service number. The military across the globe usually keep marvelous records (if you ignore that terrible fire in our National Archives in 1973 that destroyed about 20 million personal records - especially Army personnel discharged between 1912 and 1960). So if your genealogy video will include service personnel, a word may unlock the government's vault.

One word. It can be like picking up the end of a rope and pulling. Then pulling some more and seeing what lies at its end. The attraction of genealogy video is that it combines all the kinds of historical records you may have - documentary, audio, pictorial - into a powerful, emotional, multimedia compilation. It can be created using common editing programs like iMovie or MovieMaker and it has the advantage over other forms of media in being able to showcase the results of genealogical research in vibrant and immediately accessible ways. For many people, the pinnacle of genealogical research is the creation - by themselves or with professional help - of a genealogy video.

And remember: for those of us who may be new to genealogy or who feel they are too busy to spend the time - one word may start a journey like no other.

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