Family history is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States.
More people discover everyday the fun of tracing their ancestors. It’s like gathering scattered leaves from our family’s past to create a more interesting family history.
And with the advent of the internet, it has become easier than ever before to research those scattered family lines.
Genealogy is a versatile hobby.
A family history may be recorded with a simple pen and paper (my humble beginnings), or it can involve more expensive equipment…a computer. If you’re a serious genealogist, you’ll use both!
A genealogist must be familiar with the various types of genealogical records available and know where to access them, as well as know how to analyze and interpret the evidence they provide.
I remember how I loved the game “Clue” as a child.
Well, family history research is kinda like a detective looking for a missing person.
Working from the known information and making an educated guess that can lead to public records that can help to fill in the gaps in a pedigree.
Starting out, you should begin with some blank forms.
Pedigree charts show one person’s direct ancestors.
Family Group charts record all the children in each family.
Start with yourself.
Many records are now posted on the internet.
Some sites will charge money for their services, but there are still many that are free.
Just be aware that not everything on the internet is accurate, or even in some books. Always verify!
If you record data you have found, be sure you record where you found it.
It will be helpful if you discover two sources that conflict, and you need to judge which is the most reliable.
The more that you learn about your family, the more you will appreciate them.
You will find heroes and black sheep, but most of all, you will find real people.
There struggles will help you appreciate your own. Many of us have various challenges we must face daily.
Despite the hardships, our ancestors had some challenging moments as well.
you’ve probably never had your crops destroyed by grasshoppers;
and while travel might be a challenge at times, you never put everything you owned into a covered wagon and walked two thousand miles to a new home that you had to build yourself.
Gathering those scattered leaves in our family history ofen reveals many interesting facts that could surprise you.
Your father looked an awful lot like his grandfather. Your grandmother loved to draw and paint, and played guitar, just like you do.
The more you find out about your family’s past, the more that you will discover about yourself.