Basics Of Genealogy
Everyone has a desire to know where they come from, where they get their red hair or their green eyes from, and sometimes even a desire to know why they are mechanically inclined! In recent years this desire has strengthened interest in genealogy research. Fortunately, with the increase in interest, comes an increase in the information readily available to even the novice hobbyist. To better understand the basics of genealogy, it is important to differentiate between a family tree and genealogy.
Genealogy encompasses the research and study of not just the recent history of immediate family members but also the lineage of a family dating back as far as available historical records will permit. Genealogy research will, often times, provide researchers with information pertaining to the way in which people lived, where they lived, a medical history, and other interesting nuggets of information otherwise not previously known.
A family tree can be represented in either plain text or graphical form and it can be a useful representation of the basic history of a family branching back several generations. However, a family tree is not necessarily a good way to preserve information about and document deeper aspects of a relative’s life; like the above mentioned lifestyle information.
Another important aspect to understanding the basics of genealogy is to realize that there is often information to be found in the most unlikely of places. Newspapers and libraries, recognizing the need to preserve and share information for a wider audience, have taken steps to scan and upload copies of papers and other stored records (like microfiche) to both free and paid membership websites.
Many older churches have kept records dating several generations back; these records can be a treasure trove of baptism records, wedding information, and even funeral records. As technology improves, several of these churches are also taking the needed steps to digitally preserve their records for future research.
Where found records and information once needed to be hand documented, there are now commercially available software packages that will assist researchers of all calibers in thoroughly documenting their findings. Additionally, several websites now exist that not only provide researchers the ability to document and store their findings but also allow them to connect with other researchers.
Once a good source of information has been located it will often lead to more sources of information from another avenue; these links will often direct an intrepid researcher to several people who have done their own research on another aspect on a common relative’s life. Making those connections with other genealogy hobbyists or historians is a vital part of genealogy research because it will open previously unknown and unexplored doors.
A large part of genealogy research is being willing to explore those previously unknown avenues to find those missing links and missing gems of information. Keeping an open mind is also another vital part of research into a family background; not all of the information gleaned is going to be suitable for discussion at your next family brunch. We all have a deep and rich history behind how we got to where we are today; using your best investigative skills, along with your desire to know more, will allow you uncover that history. Even the somewhat unsavory aspects of your family history!
About the Author
Jeff Sallee is a genealogy enthusiast, and enjoys helping others get started in this satisfying hobby. For more information on the basics of genealogy visit www.secretsofgenealogy.com where Jeff exposes some of the latest secrets of genealogy research to other enthusiasts who want to climb higher into the family tree.