How Do I Get Started on my Genealogy?
What is genealogy? This word literally means study of the family (genea = Greek for family or race; and logia = from Greek for study or reason). Today, we understand genealogy to describe the study, recording and charting of ancestries, descendancies and other family relationships. Family history studies fill in social, environmental, and historical background material which often help to extend a genealogy when other written records are not available or need sociological interpretation.
Why are so many people going gonzo over genealogy? Why trace my genealogy? Genealogy research can help you learn your family's unique history - its overseas origins, traditions, medical history, and place in history ... whether your relatives were famous or infamous! Learning more about who your ancestors were and the lives they lived will help you learn more about yourself. You are the fruit of their lives. Your family history is unique and deserves to be preserved and told for future generations.
I've never done any genealogy research and all this information about genealogy on the Internet is pretty overwhelming. Well, just about everything new seems overwhelming at first. Taken in small pieces, step by step, genealogy research is a wonderfully relaxing and intellectually stimulating activity. We can only guess that this is why genealogy is one of the fastest growing leisure pursuits.
Ok, how do I start when I don't know a thing? Well, we find it hard to believe that you 'don't know a thing' about your family history, but ... here is how you can get started on your own.
1. Genealogists use forms to help keep a family history organized. So, your first step is to download a few of these forms so that you can begin recording your family history. --> Get FREE forms.
2. Start with yourself, and write down the basic vital information about you - your birth date, birth place, parent's names and the same information about your spouse and children. --> Read more detail.
3. Next, if you do not already have them, order birth, marriage and death certificates for everyone in your family. You can find out more about how to obtain these records for United States vital records at the Vital Records Information website. It may take several months to a year to receive these documents, after they are requested from the State, but it is important that you have historical copies to document your research. ProGenealogists, Inc. has access to many birth, marriage and death certificates and these can be obtained for you if you'd like to hire our research team to research your family tree.
4. Next, pull out your "Pedigree Chart" (or make one) and write down your parents' full names and all of their vital information (birth, marriage and death dates) on the chart. During this phase, you might need to interview family members - cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents - or go through family papers to find this information. So much family history has been recorded in the past 50-80 years that certainly you'll be able to get a good bit of this contemporary (post-1930) information put together on your own just by ordering vital records from those with access to them. Make sure to obtain all certificates of your parents' and grandparents' vital records, too.
Ok, I've put together everything I can from vital records and from interviewing family members - now what? Now, you are ready to go online to make a careful search of readily available databases. ProGenealogists professionals have put together the best databases and tools for online searching on a single access page. We actually built this page to simplify our professional research efforts, but it is yours to use, FREE of charge as a thank you for visiting our site. Make sure you bookmark that page and go back to it often. Because we use it every day, it will be kept up to date. Many of the databases on the resource page are free, though some charge a relatively small fee for access. If you have at least three generations of ancestry in the United States, it is worth your while to sign up for the major pay sites. The fees are minimal (compared to all those certificates you've ordered) and the search capabilities of all the major databases are nothing short of amazing. They keep adding new material and eventually you'll find information on your family.
A subscription to Ancestry.com is essential for success for most beginners. Yes, a subscription to Ancestry.com costs money, too, but they have a two week free trial. We firmly believe that Ancestry.com will save you so much time and frustration. We use Ancestry.com day in and day out to help our clients with their family history reesarch. Ancestry.com has a spectacular search engine that just keeps getting better. So, you'll be able to find things on Ancestry.com that will difficult, if impossible, to find elsewhere. Plus, Ancestry.com has online family trees where you can store all of your family information and keep it safe.
Hey, all this work could take me years - I hardly have time to keep up with the daily grind at my house, but I really want to learn about my family's history. So what options do I have? We can help you - order ancestry research or call us toll-free at 866-217-9245. Professional genealogists are ready to research your family history for you.
Ok, I've tried for months and I can't find anything about my family online or in local records - is this the end of the road? Eventually, most people run into stumbling blocks in their research. You might hear others calling them "brick walls" or "dead-ends." This is the situation when even the best do-it-your-selfer is pulling out his or her hair about what or where to go next. Professional genealogists can help you, even if you still want to do most of the work yourself. Consultations, or an occasional ancestry research project could help you back on your way to continued success.
Be prepared for the genealogy hobby to cost you some money, even if you do it yourself. Most hobbies have costs associated with them, and just like most things in life, there is no free lunch. But, genealogical research can be a wonderfully enjoyable endeavor.
If you need the assistance of professional genealogists, then you've ended up at the best site to find experienced help. Call us at 801-596-3230 or request an estimate. We're here to help.