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Searching Family Genealogy

By: Kelly Gillis

Once I started digging into my family's history I was hooked. I started my search by talking to family members and was able to get a lot of information from them. My various family members had lots of important information they shared with me. I got lots of dates of birth, dates of death and marriage records. I was able to get copies of some old newspaper articles about my great-grandfather who was a prominent citizen in Michigan, but I wanted to know more. I took my search online.

There are hundreds of sites online for you to search when doing your family genealogy. There is the U.S. Census. There are three significant censuses, 1790, 1850 and 1900. Most people searching the U.S. Census are amazed at the amount of information available. Especially helpful from the census can be the fact that when our ancestors immigrated to the United States they were of course asked their birthplace, and the birthplace of their parents. This information may be available to you.

Once you know where your ancestors lived you can contact the local historical society in that area. They should have newspapers of the time and important land records which may be of help for you. Local newspapers always list births, deaths and marriages. Obituaries will list the cemetery where your ancestors were buried.

Cemeteries also hold a lot of information for your genealogy search. You'll have definite, indisputable dates of birth and death. And, you may find another ancestor or two on this search. The cemetery will have information on file on everyone buried there.

There are also online sites dedicated to specific cultures. There is an Italian Heritage and Genealogy Page, a Greek Heritage and Genealogy Homepage and a Sephardic Genealogy Homepage. There are sites of passenger lists from ships that sailed from all over the world to the U.S.and also ships that sailed to and from different ports all over the world. You could research your ancestor who sailed from England to Australia to the Canada. You can check for your ancestors by ports of departure or ports of entry. These records go back hundreds of years.