If you’ve seen the Ancestry adverts then you may be asking yourself, ‘What is my genealogy?’. Family history research can be a rewarding hobby as you delve deeper and deeper into your family’s past. Let me show you how with this useful guide.
I first want to explain what genealogy is. And the difference there is between genealogy and family history.
After that, I then want to ask you why you wish to pursue America’s second favorite pastime, (gardening is the first by the way).
Then I will discuss the process that you need to follow so that you can discover your ancestors.
Finally, I will show you that there are free genealogy resources out there t.at can help you.
So, if you want to learn how to find out your genealogy and what steps to take then please read on.
What Is Genealogy?
You may be thinking to yourself what is the difference between genealogy and family history.
Is there a difference?
Isn’t it all the same thing?
Genealogy is the pursuit of names, dates, places. These pieces of data can help us to build our family tree.
If you are keen to research your tree then the biggest genealogy search site, Ancestry would be your best place to start. There you can find records that will assist you.
Family history is the stories behind the ancestors in your tree. These stories can be found by reading between the lines of records. And also within the many letters, newspaper articles, obituaries, and so on, that have been passed down to you.
Ultimately though the two terms, genealogy and family history, have become synonymous and so you could use either term to discuss your passion.
Why Research Genealogy
Now that you know the difference between genealogy and family history I just want to ask you one more question.
Why are you researching your ancestors?
You may have just one reason, or you may have more than one.
What are the reasons?
Confirm family tales or stories
You want to confirm whether the family stories that you have been told are true or not. As you continue your genealogy journey, you may discover new stories that haven’t been told.
This is exactly what has happened to me. And so it can be quite fascinating to unearth new family stories.
Trace ancestors journey
You want to unravel the journey of your ancestors from across the country. Or even maybe from the other side of the world.
And by doing so you may discover the story behind their travels.
Preserve the family history
You may have family heirlooms that have been passed down to you. Maybe you wish to preserve these heirlooms for generations to come.
It is also interesting to learn who these heirlooms belonged to. And if there are fascinating stories connected with these objects from bygone years.
Family history has been passed down
A relative may have already begun your family history research. And so you may want to add what research you can find.
Find living cousins
You may want to connect with distant cousins that you never knew existed. These connections are great as they may help you with details that you don’t know.
Sharing is caring.
Related to someone famous
You may be intrigued to trace whether you are related to someone famous who was alive many years ago. Or you may have a connection to a celebrity who is alive right now.
Carrying out this investigation may even prove that an old family legend is even true.
It can be fun to collect names, dates, and places and to enter them into your family tree. Watch it grow as dig deeper and deeper into your family’s past.
Where To Begin Your Genealogy Research
Let’s get right into it and show you where you need to begin to discover your ancestors and uncover their stories. Firstly, genealogy doesn’t have to cost you anything, (at the beginning that is).
Below I will briefly cover the ten steps that you need to follow so that you can trace your ancestry. Then I will give you a quick guide on the many free genealogy resources that you can use.
1. Start with yourself
Write down your name, where you were born, where you married, kids’ details, etc. Then add your parents’ details, grandparents, and just add as much as you know.
Then when you have done that have a look around your home for any clues about your ancestors. Try to find old documents, letters, records, newspaper clippings, etc. Even old photographs may help you on your quest.
2. Ask your relatives
Your family members can help you a great deal with your newfound interest, especially if someone has already begun the journey.
They can give you a wealth of information, particularly your older relatives. It is also worth seeking help from neighbors or work colleagues that you think may of assistance.
3. Write what you have so far
Start to write down what you have collected thus far. You may have amassed a lot of information. Don’t let that worry, just push on.
4. Concentrate on an individual
At this stage, it would be best to concentrate your efforts on an ancestor that may be of particular interest. It can become tempting to climb other branches of your tree.
But please resist the temptation. You can always get back to them later.
5. Search online
The Internet has so much information about your ancestors. Some resources will be free and some you will need to be paid for.
Do not get disheartened if you cannot find what you are looking for. There is new data uploaded to the web all the time.
6. Research where your ancestors lived
Researching the area where your ancestors once lived and worked can be very rewarding. By doing so you can get a sense of appreciating what they had to do to survive.
7. Visit archives and family history society
The archives and family history societies can contain information about your ancestors. There may even be information that has not even been uploaded online yet.
So it is worth checking out these resources that are available to you.
8. Enter your collected information
A genealogy software program is imperative so that you can enter what you have discovered. These programs can help you make sense of your research.
9. Visit your ancestors’ area
You can visit the places where your ancestors once lived and worked. You can even get clues about their past. This is especially true if you visit cemeteries and find their gravestone.
10. Repeat the steps
Just continue the process for another ancestor. This is a journey that will quite possibly continue for a long time.
Free Genealogy Resources
As I said earlier, genealogy does not have to cost you anything. It depends though how much that you want to know about your ancestry.
Digging deeper into the lives of your ancestors will cost you money, eg. genealogy site subscriptions.
I have covered many free resources on this site.
My 15 Ways To Conduct Free Genealogy Research post does cover what I have discussed above, but also other resources that are available to you. Within that guide, I cover resources such as free books, classes, software, and more.
There are free resources available to you. You just need to know where to look.
So, if you are wondering, ‘how to find my ancestry for free‘, then check out my guide above. My guide will show you where you can find what you are looking for.
There will be a lot of information to digest as you trace your genealogy. It is therefore important to take your time and try not to get overwhelmed.
If you do feel like it is getting too much for you then please just take a break. It is always better to come back to your research with a fresh pair of eyes.
If you want more resources at your disposal then please check out more free genealogy websites at Genealogy Explained. There are a ton of sites discussed there that will be of help.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope that you enjoyed this guide that will help you to answer the question, ‘what is my genealogy’. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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