Genealogy offers a valuable hobby. It allows participants to learn who they are, where they come from and to get to know family members who form their own heritage. While the task is challenging, it is a great way to learn more about history. The research allows one to know where his or her family took an active role in the events that form today’s world.
The basic tenant of any historical research is to begin with what is already known. From the few facts one already knows about his or her family, it is often possible to open a vast array of new knowledge. Each new discovery takes you a little further back in time.
Begin by writing down the facts you do know. Several online tools help you to develop your family tree. Complete the information you have. Talk with relatives, especially parents or grandparents. They may have resources of which you are unaware. Important family records include birth, death and marriage certificates. Old photo albums and family Bibles are valuable tools.
Once as much information as possible is gathered from personal knowledge, evaluate what is available and what is still missing. Consider the people you find most intriguing. Set goals for yourself in regards to further research.
Census records are important parts of the information to look at. Researchers who know where a family was living are often able to find siblings and others who lived in the home. These provide clues as to further research through newspapers, court records and other documents. In addition, it is often possible to tie into the research of others from different branches of the family.
Document the research done to prevent having to do it all over again. Even if a source turns out to be a dead end for the family, keep a record to know the paths to avoid in the future. When a great find is uncovered, be sure to document the source of the information.
Share the discoveries made. Older generations often enjoy hearing the stories the researcher uncovers. In addition, sharing these stories with others may trigger memories that help to learn even more about one’s ancestors.
While much genealogical research can be completed online, travel to the area where one’s family once lived is also an important step. Researchers can visit cemeteries to gather information from a family member’s headstone that is often not available in any other way.