Genealogy & Family History
Genealogy, sometimes referred to as Family History, is the study of the descents of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors. It is is one of the world's most popular pastimes, with millions of people around the globe currently investigating their origins. This investigation of ancestry and family histories is undertaken by many people out of interest in their personal and family origins and this hobby can become pleasantly addictive to the person concerned. The goal is to build a family tree that includes all of your relatives as far back as you would like to go, or at least as far back as you can go.
The study is also undertaken professionally in order to provide a commercial service that can be used by people who are seeking help in researching their origins and also for serious legal and financial reasons. There are accepted standards for doing genealogy properly and it is advisable to apply those standards even if you are only conducting the research for your own interest.
Creating a family tree literally means getting the names of family members - on the other hand 'family history' goes a step further by actually finding out information about each of those people, learning more about the lives they lived etc. The term 'family history' applies to biographical research into one's ancestors with the aim of producing a well-documented chronicled history, of interest to family members and future generations. Family history involves the study of the historical circumstances and geographical situation in which ancestors lived, allowing you the capacity to associate historical events with particular generations or individuals from your ancestral family. It is a sociable pastime - apart from interviewing members of your own family to obtain initial information, your research could also bring you into contact with many new and like-minded people.
Where to Begin
- As a complete beginner it is always advisable to start by visiting your local library where there are usually many useful introductory books on genealogy and family history which will provide you with coherent guidance as to how to get started on tracing your lineage.
- If there is a Family History Society in your area, you can gain access to a network of researchers who can assist you with your journey into the past. You will find that people are eager to encourage and assist you if you are starting out for the first time. They will share their own findings with you and perhaps you may solve a particular problem that has failed their own research.
- Overall, you will discover that, from complete beginners to experienced genealogists, the attraction of finding out more about the past through one's own family is hard to resist, and once you have embarked on the research trail, the work can become totally absorbing.