How You Can use Genealogy To Better Understand Your Family’s History

by • September 8, 2020 • Random NewsComments (0)1157

Genealogy is a study that focuses on family origins and history by analyzing historical records, family trees, genetic studies, interviews as well as other records to trace the descendants or the ancestors of individuals. By figuring out who your ancestors were and gaining a better understanding of your family’s history better, you will get to experience a higher level of self-discovery while connecting to your family in a more intimate way. However, the search for family history is a challenging journey, and conversations with your relatives alone will not be sufficient. This article is a guide on how you can use genealogy to better understand your family’s history.

Hire A Professional Genealogist

Discovering interesting facts about your family history on your own is an exciting experience and the journey is full of surprises. However, the quality of research that you can do yourself is limited. The experts of explain that it is highly recommended that amateurs’ work should be done alongside a professional genealogist to ensure a higher accuracy rate. Depending on your own family history, there might be unexpected issues or challenging problems that need to be solved by a professional genealogist. Whilst online databases can greatly assist you in constructing a family tree, some areas of research will require lengthy library searches and intensive work. Professional genealogists are inexpensive and can save you a lot of time and trouble as they are well-trained to see connections that may be unclear to you and will be able to find information that requires professional research methods.  

Identify What You Know About Your Family’s History by Talking to Your Relatives

The search for your family’s history should be based on what you already know about your ancestors by collecting family documents such as photographs, diaries, and other relevant documents, along with information gathered during conversations with family members. Information that you can gather by simply talking to your relatives and going through your family’s belongings are surprisingly informative if you know how to search and interview properly. Before you go and do any research on databases, talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. 

Before interviewing family members, it is important to make sure that you are well prepared. First of all, you should have a recorder with you to accurately document your interviews and make it easier to retrieve the information later on. Secondly, you should have a list of specific questions that you want to ask your relatives. Suggestive questions to ask that are helpful in building foundational information are questions about family members from grandparents to great-grandparents and beyond. Try to gather information about each family member such as their full name, their place, and date of birth, their siblings, and other information regarding their ethnic background, nationality, and their education history.    

Organize and Manage your Family Tree

Creating a family tree is a great way for you to learn more about your family and family history in an organized way which results in a more accurate and time-efficient research process. For instance, you can keep track of several generations with a large number of family members by linking them together under an easily analyzable family tree. Nowadays, there are several online genealogical databases that can help you build and manage family trees. Genealogical databases are available in both free and paid versions for you to choose from as well.  

Keep in mind that building an extensive list of family members is not an easy task as information about close relatives is easy to find whereas details about family members from fourth to fifth generations up are harder to find. Keep your research organized in a well-documented and strategic way to avoid more complications later on. 

Conduct Research Online

After finding as much information as you can from family records and family members, it is time to conduct further research online to find answers to questions you might have and to fill in unanswered blanks in your family tree. On well-known genealogy websites, information and resources are updated frequently with records and sources collected around the world. Genealogical researching materials are made available on both free and paid databases in forms of books, microfilm, publications, and other digitized materials. Other than genealogical materials, many genealogical sites offer researching tips, informational articles, and updates that can help you research your family history better as well. 

Use Censuses to Identify Unknown Information and Relatives

Census records are a valuable source of information when it comes to finding missing records and linking connections between generations in a genealogical study. Census records normally include not only personal information about respondents but also detailed facts about individuals that help identify distant relatives and verify stories from family members. Censuses are collections of informational snapshots of families during different periods, and these can give genealogists insights about members of each household, relationships between these members, and information about their ages, professions, and birthplaces. 

Census information and records are typically made available on both large genealogy sites and libraries. When looking for information regarding ancestors with known specific locations, it is recommended that you start with federal census records first. Keep in mind that different types of censuses can offer you various facts about your ancestor. Therefore, it is worthwhile to go through and study each census that has information on an unknown ancestor to better identify them and learn more about their life.

Consider Getting a Genetic Genealogy

DNA testing is an extremely useful tool in genealogical research. Test results are normally compared to other people’s results in order to yield meaningful connections and comparisons. However, it is important to note that the quality of these comparisons is largely based on the number of test results available in the database. Therefore, genetic genealogy is known to face problems regarding small quantities of data. In order to avoid unsound analysis, if you are considering taking a DNA testing for genealogy-related purposes, make sure that you are being tested by an institution that has a large database. 

Tracing ancestors and discovering family history as far back as possible can bring people a great deal of satisfaction. Understanding more about your own family fosters intimate connections and creates rewarding experiences. Use our advice to help you go further on the journey of self-discovery and understand your family’s history better. 

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