It can be a fascinating and fulfilling experience when you journey through your ancestry. It doesn’t matter if your family is small, big, divided, or united; finding out about your heritage can help you develop a better sense of self.
Genealogy research can help improve family relationships and give you better insight into your genetics. This article will provide you with tips that can help you trace your ancestry.
1. List all available information
From the start, it is important to remember that working backward can be very helpful. A lot of people prefer to begin their research by meeting their war veteran or Civil War soldier family member.
However, that decision could take you down the wrong path. If your surname is pretty common, working backward could also help.
You don’t want a situation where you have spent hours and days of research only to discover that you were researching the wrong person. The ideal approach is to start with yourself.
2. Interview relatives
It might seem easy on paper, but this particular tip can become difficult if some relatives don’t like talking too much.
You should also ask the family if anybody has begun tracing the family’s history. This will prevent you from wasting your time on information already known.
Please check my Top 20 Family History Interview Questions post for more information.
3. Obtain death records
This also boils down to working backward. In cases like this, the most current record of the person is most likely their death record.
It’s the major reason why birth records are less common than death records. In the United States, death records are kept by each state, meaning some will be available online while others will require that you send a request via mail to get a copy of the certificate.
4. Check for death record clues
As soon as you get clues from death records, you should narrow your research. You will need to search the birth records and find the country of birth.
This record should disclose more information that should take you down the right path.
You should know that even though death certificates can provide a lot of hints, they are not always reliable or accurate.
5. Records and databases
The major aim of the census is to find out where a person stays and the people in their family. A lot of people begin their research using census records.
The census will signify the number of servants, farmhands, and relatives. It will also provide their names, genders, birthplaces, and ages.
Even though census records are very popular when it comes to family ancestry, there are times when you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for.
In this case, there are other records to check. A lot of cities keep directories, so you can check there.
States also conduct censuses that are different from the federal census.
Going forward, you could also use genealogy software as it keeps records of births, marriages, and deaths of individuals.
The major advantage of this is the ease at which you can conduct research and log information.
It doesn’t matter if you own a smartphone, laptop, desktop, or even a gaming PC with a 240hz gaming monitor, you will be able to use this software.
6. Search local sources
When you have verified the names and locations of your family, you can begin searching in local publications for pieces about your family.
The best source in this category is historical newspapers as they have information on births, obituaries, and even personal stories.
Obituaries, most especially, can provide extensive details about the life of the deceased – including names of family members.
Since everything isn’t on the internet, you might have to visit the local library to continue the research.
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