Genealogy - Trace Your Family's History
By: Catherine Olivia
Did you ever consider that your great-great-grandfather may have fought in the civil war? Perhaps your great-great-great grandfather made his way here from the "old country" on a great old sailing ship with just a few pence in his pocket. What of your grandmother? Perhaps she was the local librarian in her town. Once they start a genealogy search most people find tracing their family history fascinating. What may start with the simple desire to know a few names and dates turns into nothing short of a fascinating archaeological "dig" of sorts.
There are many ways to get tidbits on your family history. Perhaps you're lucky like me and your family never threw any scrap of paper away. You may have a handwritten birth certificate, as I do, for my great-great-grandfather who was born in England in the 1800's. Birth, death and marriage records are generally easy to find, especially if the family members you are searching about were born here in this country. Maybe you have letters sent back and forth that have information about your ancestors in them. I have a bible that belonged to my great-great-grandmother that has in the back pages where she recorded family births, deaths and marriages.
My father was interested in our family history and had quite a collection of information about our ancestors. When my sister took over the work on the family tree that my father had started one thing she did was to contact the local historical society in the town where we knew my great-grandparents lived. They were able to give some family history as my great-grandfather was a rather prominent citizen. From there she contacted the cemetery where family members were buried and was able to get birth dates and dates of death. When she made a visit to another town where some of our ancestors lived she took a camera to the cemetery and took pictures of the tomb stones.
The internet is a great starting point for your genealogy search. You can visit a website where you can check the passenger arrival records from Ellis Island. AOL has a site where you can type in name, birth and death info on your ancestors to see if there is any information online. Some sites offer genealogy information by country. There are some sights that offer the ability to see information that others have already searched out. Some of these are paid membership sites. You may even find out that you have an unknown family member out there doing the same search on your family members.