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Genealogy For The Beginner

Aug 18, 2007
Genealogy is a popular pastime. It is natural to be curious about one's roots and family history, and genealogy allows all of the information to be compiled and passed along to future generations.

The internet has proved to be a powerful tool for genealogists, allowing easier searches of records as well as the sharing of information between genealogists who share a common line. This article will discuss some of the common questions surrounding genealogy and family history that may help you find your ancestors.

What is genealogy?

Genealogy can be defined as the study and recording of one's family history. The information is recorded in a document known as a family tree. Information that may be documented in the written record includes birth, death and marriage dates, names of spouse(s) and children, and perhaps pertinent historical or medical data.

Why is genealogy important?

We are ultimately the product of those who have gone before us. In order to understand ourselves better, it is important to understand where we came from. Additionally, genealogy may be used to find lost relatives or trace a line of descendants from a well-known ancestor.

Genealogy is also a way to acknowledge the importance and life history of our deceased loved ones. Genealogy can be used to put together the life story of an individual family.

I have done all the research I can within my immediate family. Now what?

Now it is time to take the information you have compiled and use it to move backward through your family line. Your first step should to be to check with the major research societies and online forums to see if anyone else is researching the same surnames as you are.

It is possible that a completed or in-process genealogy will link to yours, so be sure to research any current genealogies that seem plausible.

What are some of the problems I might run into when performing genealogical research?

The biggest problem that most of us will face is loss or destruction of records. Virtually every bloodline has in its history an era of persecution, flood, fire or other disaster.

At a time when all records were on paper, even a small local fire could be enough to destroy all of the town's records. Those who fled persecution often changed their names on the spot and went into hiding in a new location.

There will be gaps in your records and you might hit a wall beyond which it is impossible to trace a certain branch of your family.

When you run into these problems, think outside the box. Try to connect an ancestor whose trail has gone cold to someone else in your family whose records you have.

Odds are good that a connection is there, although it may take some detective work to figure out the link. Patience and perseverance are the keys.
About the Author
Discover more about genealogy from Mike Selvon portal where a free gift awaits you. We appreciate your feedback at our Genealogy blog.
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