Ancestors

Many people today are looking into their ancestral origins. While some may want to know more about their heritage and ethnic origins, others may be concerned with how their genetic history can affect their health. Some of the other reasons that may inspire people to learn more about their ancestors and compile a family tree may include:

  • a love of history
  • a curiosity about family legends
  • the desire for a sense of identity
  • the desire to explore family ethnic background
  • the desire to join a heritage society
  • the desire to preserve family culture
  • the need to know about family medical history.

Regardless of your reasons for exploring your ancestral origins, researching your roots can be a challenging and exciting experience.However, with the right tools and tips, you can be on track to uncovering your roots sooner than you think.

Free Database of Ancestors: Find My Ancestors for Free

One of the best ways to start filling out your family tree is to go online and do a search. In many cases, you can find out a lot about your ancestors at no cost. Among the free databases of ancestors online are:

  • AncestorHunt.com: Sponsored by the Church of Latter Day Saints, AncestorHunt.com will search the Churchs genealogy records.
  • Ancestry.com: Ancestry.com offers a fourteen day free trial. If you choose to become a member, you can explore records throughout the United States or the world for information about your ancestors.
  • Census-online.com: This site provides a limited amount of census information from around the world.
  • FamilySearch.org: This is another free web site sponsored by the Church of Latter Day Saints that allows you to search a vast body of genealogy records.
  • FamilyTreeSearcher.com: Similar to a master genealogical search engine, this site will search other genealogy websites, including Ancestry.com, for your family records.

Tips for Researching Your Family Tree

Along with being challenging and exciting, researching your family origins can be frustrating and confusing. Here are some tips to help you as you trace your genealogy:

  • Check with other family members: Someone else in your family may have a head start on researching your family origins and will likely be willing to share information. In addition, older members of your family can be a wonderful source of facts about names, dates and causes of death.
  • Double check your information: Records may contain mistakes. Consequently, some find it helpful to use multiple databases to crosscheck records they find. On a similar note, keep in mind that, the farther back you go, the sketchier records may become. In the past, record keeping was not necessarily as precise as it is now. Crosschecking information from older sources is a good way to ensure you are gathering the most accurate information.
  • Find original documents if possible: These are always the best source for the most accurate information. While family members may own some original documents, such as birth and death certificates, you may also be able to track these down at a local library or city hall.
  • Search spelling variations and initials: When searching for your relatives online, in a library or in other locations, you may be able to gather additional information about them by searching for them under nicknames or alternate spellings of their names.
  • Travel to home cities: Small towns can be a wealth of information. If you can afford to, make a trip to the home cities of your ancestors to get even more information about them.
  • Talk with local history societies: Some may have original documents or photographs of your ancestors.You can also use your favorite search engine to look for family history. Keep in mind that, when searching the Internet, it”s always best to use as many details as you can. For example, searching for your ancestor by name and birth year can weed out many with the same or similar names.

In addition to using the Internet, you can also request information from local courthouses. There, you might be able to find:

  • birth certificates
  • death certificates
  • divorce documents
  • marriage licenses
  • property information.

If you are requesting information from a courthouse or another public agency, ask for a copy of the original documents.

Resources

Ancestor Hunt Free Genealogy Search (n.d.). Ancestor Hunt. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from the AncestorHunt.com Web site.

Census-Online.com (n.d.). Census Online. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from the Census-Online.com Web site.

Generations Network, Inc. (2008). Welcome. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from the Ancestry.com Web site.

Geocities.com (n.d.). Genealogy Search Tips. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from the Geocities.com Web site.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (n.d.). The Largest Collection of Free Family History in the World. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from the FamilySearch.org Web site.

Pearson Education Inc. (n.d.). Why Genealogy? Retrieved March 13, 2008, from the FamilyEduction.com Web site.