Celebrate Your Family History This Weekend.
With Independence Day celebrations coming up many of you will spend time with your family over this weekend. If you have an interest in your family tree but have never taken the time to ask those important questions about your ancestry, make 2011 your year for rediscovering your family’s heritage.
While you’re spending time with relatives, preparing food, heating up the bbq, or already eating your macaroni salad and hot dogs, make some time to ask questions about your family history, especially from the older members of the family. It’s a great way to reconnect with family members and you’ll be amazed at the information that may be revealed (be prepared to take notes!). You’ll find out that grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles all have a wealth of family knowledge just waiting to be captured, documented and passed onto future generations. There may even be a box of family photos you’ve never seen before too!
Once you have had a lesson in your family’s ancestors, the next step is to document the information. You can start your family tree on paper, listing out each ancestor from the information your family provides. Start by writing down yourself, your parents, grandparents etc. (see family tree example). The next step is to start the research process, verifying and adding more information about each relative. Verification is an important early step, as you will likely find that many names you were given were actually nicknames or the ages you have don’t exactly match what the records tell you.
To research your ancestry you can visit one of the nationwide FamilySearch Centers, or if you prefer to research from home, you may want to start a free 14 day trial on one of the Ancestry Research or Family Tree websites.
I began my family tree with pen & paper and took a free trial on www.Ancestry.com. Any one of the genealogy research websites will enable you to look at valuable census records, birth death & marriage indexes as well as thousands of other directories and records to help you discover your family ancestry.
The one caveat is that you will need a lot of time. To successfully research your family history takes hundreds of hours over many months requiring commitment and basic computer skills. If you keep yourself open and persevere, you will no doubt find a new admiration for your family, country and the life your ancestors have led, as I have.
If you don’t have the time, you could contact a local genealogist or family historian to do the research for you. Some people find it’s best to leave it to a professional! They will do all the research work for you and provide you with accurate and detailed information in record time with your family tree also documented online for other family members to access.
If you already had your macaroni salad and family history lesson at last year’s 4th of July party and now have much of your research complete, consider getting your family tree printed for all members to read, or take your children and siblings on a family ancestry vacation back to the home towns of your relatives. It’s a great way to bond with your family and put you in touch with your ancestral roots.
Don’t waste another year wondering about your family’s history. Try mixing in some ancestry talk with that macaroni salad and have a great Independence Day!
For information on all research services mentioned in this blog see links below:
www.Ancestryadventures.com – Research & Information