Thursday, June 9, 2016

Family History: Why Research Family?

I have found the meaning of family history be different depending on the dictionary you use. The one I will use here is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Check out the article on Family Search Blog and you decide: You may be asking yourself why research family? There are many reasons for researching family. Here are a some of the reasons that I have heard as to why people research families.

  • A hobby - needed something to do and family history piqued interest
  • To learn about family - to learn about my ancestors and where they originated.
  • Find birth parents - to determine the birth parents of an adopted child or to find children given up for adoption.
  • Proof of biological father - to determine the biological father of a child.
  • Trace Medical Diseases -  to assess the certain diseases medical that tend to run in families.
  • Prove Native American - I am full blood Cherokee Indian and I want to prove it.
  • Family Stories - to prove a family story that has been in the family.
  • Linage Societies - to apply for membership into a linage society
  • Reconnect with cousins - to find living cousins
  • Family legacy – so our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will learn of their heritage.

Whatever the reason for deciding to take the journey into family history research, the consensus is it is rewarding and fun.  There is a deep desire within our human nature to search for to know who we are and where we came from. Where was mother born? Where did grandma and grandpa come from? Where did they originate? Where did they live? What were their lives like? What was grandpa’s occupation? Those questions are answered as you research your ancestors and collect a history of them. By collecting the history of your ancestors and the places they lived, you began to see them as real people, with families and with struggles. Gleaning the information from each record, you can then write stories of their lives.

One very important reason is the information you will find gives you a snapshot of what life was like for them. I have a snapshot of my mother' and her siblings lives after her mother became ill, taken away to a hospital, and never returned. They did not know what happened to her.  Mother was a small child of four and half years old at that time. That snapshot of their lives gives mea feeling that these were  people who had carry on with their lives. As you research your family will learn about your family and your place in that family allowing your children and grandchildren to learn of their heritage. You may find stories in your family such as my mother's that gives you a better understanding of the actions of certain family members.

As you begin your journey into family history choose one family line as your focus family. Beginning with yourself collect all the records available about you. You will most likely have a birth certificate, school records, baby’s book, school yearbooks, report cards, and doctor’s reports. Keeping in mind the method you will use to organize the records. You will want to organize as you go for that will save you time and frustration at a later date.

Decide how you will organize the information. Notebook binders are a great way to save paper copies of the records collected. Labeling each binder with a family surname will help to organize the family’s information. Then, collect all the information available on your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Do not tackle more than one family at a time to research. If you tackle too much at one time you may get overwhelmed with it, and give up researching all together. You may choose to use cloud storage for your family history. The choice is yours, and you will need to decide what works best for you.

Take your time and enjoy researching your ancestors.  They will still be there when you get to them.

by Esther Eley Jones

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