The Gift of Genealogy
For Christmas this past year my husband gave me the gift of genealogy research: a six month subscription to Ancestry.com. I love family history and all the stories that come from family members. I even love hearing about other people’s family histories and watching the genealogy shows on TV. I have already told my husband that 6 months might not be long enough. I might need to extend my subscription.
Many people have done research on ancestry.com before me (people somewhere in my family tree) and have made my job a lot easier. I have already shared some of my findings with my parents who are 95 and 84 years old. They are fascinated by some of the stories and share with me some of the stories they remember about their ancestors. I have uncovered pictures that my mom never had of her grandparents. There are things my dad didn’t know about his ancestors. It’s amazing how much can be learned. I have only begun though.
I thought I’d share some tips I learn along the way about researching and about sharing them with older family members. I am no expert. I am learning as I go. Here are some tips on how I got started.
- I started digging through genealogy papers at my parents house. My parents had other family members who had already done some research which made my job a lot easier. I brought those papers home and organized them. I started my family tree on ancestry.com and they save the records for me.
- You can also look at family bibles for family names, birth, marriage, and death dates. My mom keeps all dates in the family bible as did many people years ago.
- Look also for birth, marriage, death, and military records that are saved. These can give names, dates, and places, that can be helpful in your search.
- Talk to your family members about what they remember. Write down what you find out including the stories they tell. The stories are invaluable.
- Pictures are also invaluable pieces of information. You can scan these in on ancestry.com or you can place them with your own family tree you are making. Pictures help put a face to the name.
- Share the information with your older family member as you go or do it together. Since my parents do not have a computer, I share my finds on paper or I also have an app for ancestry.com on my tablet that I can bring along on my visits and share. I also have to say that my children also love helping me with this and are fascinated by family names, dates, and stories. They also relay what we find to my parents.
- There are other ways to trace family history. I will try to touch on some of those ways in future posts.