Finding out about your Family History

Finding out about your Family History

Researching Family History – Not as Easy as it Sounds

Getting Back to Your Roots

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Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be tempted to find out that you are related to some famous historical figure? Many people beginning the quest of researching family history may well start off with this romantic notion, but unfortunately this rarely turns out to be the case. The best way to begin the search is fairly obvious – get talking to older members of your family! Grandparents or other elderly relatives can be a fantastic source of information, even if their advancing years make their recollections a little fuzzy. Once you have established basic dates and locations then it is off to the local government office which holds records of days gone by.

 

Now, this is were the fun begins, you must be prepared to spend a lot of time and a little money waiting for the relevant paperwork like birth and death certificates, which will give you exact details to begin from. Next stop would be your main library to research census records for the dates you require. This will provide addresses and occupations of your extended family and you would be amazed to find that the majority of families lived within a one mile radius of each other, changed days from now! There are many dedicated websites on the Internet which can help you with your search from here. Most will charge a fee but from personal experience I think this is invaluable. They guide through step by step on how to collate and use your available information and point you in the right path to achieving the desired results.Your chance of claiming success is all down to how much information you have and how you use it, again this is where the websites come into action, they will have a collection of data that could indeed advance your search immensely.

 


How far you can trace back is somewhat down to luck, as depending on how well public records have been maintained is a key factor. Some people will have a greater success than others, depending on the motivation behind the initial search. It is a hard slog with many obstacles on the way, and a person starting this search off one Saturday because they are bored and think it might be a laugh will more than likely give up before midway. Those on the other hand who are driven by the desire to really know where they came from, most likely will fare better as they will have the inclination to overcome the difficulties and letdowns that occur along the way. To those of you who do manage to go the whole way I salute you, because for me it has proven too difficult and time consuming for the moment, but who knows what the future may hold in terms of my personal search.

Photos by Erika Hopkins Photography