How to Uncover Your Genealogy

How to Uncover Your Genealogy

How to Uncover Your Genealogy Family Genealogy: Finding Out About Your Family’s Past Today, over 6.5 billion call planet Earth home, and our population is growing at a rate that was inconceivable even 100 years ago.

One thing has not changed. No matter what era, no matter where, family is the basic building block of human society. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, your family history – including those long-gone ancestors – makes you what you are.

A popular saying applies: history is destiny. In a way, family history is personal destiny.

Primitive man banded together in families to procreate and survive. These families were the base from which all civilizations sprang. Scientists claim to be able to trace all of mankind back to one mother. In a very real sense, we are all related.

Today’s busy, largely urban societies seem worlds away from that past. It’s easy to feel alone and isolated. Family units have shrunk from larger groups with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins to what we call the nuclear family – mom, dad, and the kids.

And in countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia where immigration built modern populations, families are even more separated from their traditional routes.

One way to get the information you need to discover your family’s history is by conducting genealogical research. Searching back through historical records may lead you to discover that you are the descendant of kings – or thieves.

One genealogist’s study of famous people led to the surprising fact that President George Bush, rival Democrat John Kerry, and infamous playboy Hugh Hefner came, at some point in the past, from the same roots.

Genealogical research can change the way you see yourself. Perhaps you find people of different races or ethnicities in your family tree. Or maybe there’s a famous political or cultural leader in your genetic past.

Many Americans learn that their ancestors came from many different cultures and races, making their family a true American melting-pot.

Genealogical research can be a difficult, time-consuming, and lengthy project. But it’s something that, once begun, entire extended families can participate in. As different relatives gather information, you can collect an interesting and exciting saga that you can then pass down to coming generations.

One of the most basic starting points is searching for vital records. Many European countries have saved records of births, marriages, and deaths for centuries. Records of other life events like purchases of land, news-making dramas, and cemetery plot records are a great source of information.

The internet has produced an explosion in the amount and availability of information to help even the novice genealogist. There are many websites with tips, data, and services that can help you learn more about your family’s history. There are also a number of reference sources and guides to help you in your journey.

Imagine how you’d feel to discover you’re a descendant of Henry VIII, Louis IV of France, or Catherine the Great. Then think of the possibilities to learn you are a distant niece or nephew of Jesse James, Vlad the Impaler, Rasputin, Genghis Kahn, or Oliver Cromwell. Not everyone will have a famous hero or villain in their past, but the chances are good that you will.

So why not start that journey of discovery into your family’s past by rummaging through some old documents or visiting the public library to see what you can find? You’re going to run into some dead ends, be hung up by delays, and make mistakes.

But that’s part of genealogical research. You can be a kind of family history Indiana Jones searching the world for precious gems of information about the people who created you and shaped your destiny.

One thing you can count on is that you’ll learn things you never imagined about your family history, and you’ll have hours of interesting conversations with family members who are enthralled by your tales.

Family history and genealogy bring long-separated relatives back together across time and space and help us feel more grounded in a busy, crowded modern world.

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Regards, Coyalita

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