Genealogy is the study of one’s heritage, ancestors, nativity or origins. Many refer to it as working on family history. I call it collecting dead relatives! Whatever you decide to call it, it can be the most fun you’ve ever spent in your life or the biggest puzzle you can’t quite solve. It can also be the most rewarding thing you ever did for yourself and generations to come. This will be the first in a series of discussions that I hope will help you find answers to your genealogical questions.
First, you need to start at the beginning! Yes, you start with yourself. You record anything and everything about yourself found in the records you have about yourself, your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your aunts and uncles, etc. Then you put this information on pedigree charts, family group sheets, research logs, in nice folders, on a disc, in a scrapbook or publish it in a book. Sounds do-able and simple right?
Home sources can be any and all of the following and more:
- Marriage certificates and announcements
- Birth announcements, baby books
- Baptismal records, confirmation programs, Bar Mitzvah mementos
- Insurance papers, medical records
- School papers, diplomas, awards, class pictures, yearbooks
- Diaries, journals, letters, cards
- Pictures, slides, postcards, family bibles, family history
- Military records, discharge papers
- Obituaries, newspaper articles
- Business papers, paycheck stubs
- Wills, cemetery plots, deeds
- Mementos, trophies
- Membership cards, pins, anniversary gifts
Home sources give you clues that lead to more clues, but they are the sources that will give you the most unique information about your family. Your next step is to head to your library for even more information! More on your library’s genealogy resources next month.
Tim is the president of the Genealogical Society of Central Missouri and teaches genealogy help classes at the library on a regular basis.