Genealogy is the process of researching and finding out information about an individual’s family history or family roots. Some people are just contended knowing about themselves and their immediate family, just from the limited world outlook they have, while others would like to dig deeper to know how and where it all started.
Finding out at the end of your research that your ancestor was a brave knight, or that you are the descendant of a hero from the civil war or any new insight into what your origins were, is an adventure worth taking and could open up a new frontier on who you are. More often than not, beyond what is passed down from older relatives, grandparents, or what you dig up in the attic or basement, a lot of people do not know that there is a whole system out there on how to research their family history.
Today, the most obvious place to look for and obtain information is the internet. From the comfort of your home, sitting on your favorite chair, you have a huge selection of information at your finger tips and can very easily seek and find useful information. The internet is a huge source of information, and as long as you know how to dig just a little below the surface, you will be well rewarded.
The best approach with your family history research is to start with websites
specifically set up for genealogy research such as ancestry.com, one great family genealogy website, family genealogy search, Rootsweb, MyHeritage.com and a host of others. Most of these sites have all the bells and whistles on them and provide you a one stop shop to gather information. Information like birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, military records, census records, wills, or tax information are easily available to aid with your research.
Even though these sites are sophisticated you will still need to do some detective work to breakdown the information you obtain. You will have to dig further to filter out the information you have in terms of for example all the 10 last names that are the same as your, which ones are your past relatives. But, by more research you will be able to fill in the gaps and put together an authentic family history. A good rule of thumb is to feed in as much information as you have into the search engine. The more you give the more you get.
Information that you might find on these sites also includes the names of people that migrated into the United States through Ellis Island. Sometimes, because the information were handwritten in the original records, some names could have been spelt incorrectly.
Other sources of information for your family history research will include your local court house. Like the family genealogy websites, the court house also has information like marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, and divorce fillings. All these information could also be found with the state department.
Most often than not, the documents you have obtained from the above sources such as the court house will contain enough information or links that will fill in any gaps you might have, thereby providing you a more complete set of information for a better internet search.
Other less obvious places to search are the funeral homes and cemeteries in the towns where your ancestors lived and where probably buried. They could be a goldmine for information like the names of deceased spouses, parents and children.
Genealogy is a rewarding hobby for the individual undertaking it, and could easily get other family members involved effortlessly out of curiosity, familiarity and the nostalgic effect of reminiscing about times long gone. Put in your best effort in the research to get as accurate a picture as possible.