In our fast paced world, we are working harder, and spending less time with our
families. Because we don't spend as much time with our extended families, stories
are not told or recorded like they used to be, so valuable family histories are
being lost. But at some point in all the hustle, we wonder where we came from, and
who our ancestors were. Unfortunately, most of us start to explore this facet of
our history when many of our elderly relatives have already passed away. When this
happens, where do we begin our family heritage research?
Write Down your Memoirs
Start with what you know. Write down your personal story. If you think this is
time consuming, do a little at a time. Remember, just like you, your descendants
will one day wonder about their ancestors, and about you. Don't let someone else
dictate how your life will be remembered or told. If you don't write it down, chances
are your childhood memories will be lost. Don't let them disappear forever. Keep
your family heritage alive.
Put your family story on a computer in any fashion. Creating a genealogy tree online is the
best way to store your information and it is a great way to be able to share your
researched family heritage. They enable you to include stories, scanned documents,
photos, letters and heirlooms to round out your story. It also makes it easier to
continually update your heritage as you remember or find things. Most importantly,
you don't have to worry about losing your data to a computer hard drive failure.
If you use a personal computer to store your genealogy, make sure you backup your
data regularly on a jump drive. Alternatively, you can use a software application
to streamline the backup process
, such as SyncBack.
Online Classes are Available When You Have Time
The Family History Library now has classes available online, so you can educate
yourself where ever you are in the world (as long as you have internet access),
at a time that is convenient for you. They offer a variety of classes that can be
accessed from the FHL genealogy website by accessing Free Online Classes from the
Discover your Family Heritage
Start your research with census records to discover who were your relatives' parents,
siblings, and possibly other ancestors too. They can tell you what they did for
a living, how long they lived in the same area, what their status was, and much
more. It can even facilitate with missing family heritage like approximately when
and where a person was married or born. Don't rely solely on census records. Use
a variety of sources to help verify information found in each of your documents.
Find and Analyze Sources
To help with finding documents that will answer your questions, you might need
to look for various sources. For example, birth data. You may not have access to
a birth certificate because it doesn't exist, so what do you do next? You need to
find alternate sources such as an obituary, death certificate, church records, or
cemetery headstone. For your
family heritage research , we have a list of
references by event type. This list should help you with finding alternative records
to fill in your missing ancestry.
Overcome Research Challenges
To be able to understand and decipher historical documents, you will be better
equipped to do so, if you know the history, culture and jurisdictions of the places
related to the information being sought after, and analyzed. Understanding and analyzing
how, when, why, where, and by whom an artifact was created can be a difficult challenge.
The problem is further exacerbated by common challenges with records that are hard
to read because of fading, poor penmanship, and different languages.
All known information about the person or family being researched needs to be
kept in context while performing an analysis. Plotting out your researched family
heritage on maps and timelines is often used to help identify newly found information
and unlikely differences between events. When analyzing data keep these points in
Is this information helpful?
Is this about my ancestor?
When comparing documents, are these the same people?
Does this conflict with other information?
What seems to be missing and why?
One of the biggest challenges to the analysis phase is that it requires a lot
of research knowledge to perform an analysis, draw conclusions, and decide what
your next steps should be. Often one doesn't understand what facts in a record are
important or what something means, thus causing pertinent data to be overlooked.
The list of challenges goes on.
Share your Research and Family Heritage
Be sure to document what you have researched, so when you do share your research
with other relatives, they don't do the same research over. They can concentrate
on expanding the family tree with their knowledge and information. This gets everyone
involved and lets future relatives' learn about their heritage.