What is Genealogy?
Genealogy is the study of your family history. The word is taken from the Greek root words “Genea” and “Logos”. Genea means generation and Logos means knowledge or study of, thus put together Genealogy becomes the knowledge or study of generations. This study is visually represented traditionally by the family tree. Although in recent times the family tree digital video has also become a popular way to showcase the generations of the family tree. In order to showcase something you need to have details and the way to get details of your family history is to do research.
How to research the family tree?
What a genealogist essentially does is to research family trees. To research your family tree you begin with the old family stories that your grandparents tell you. These give you clues to the family history which you must eventually verify as facts. To do so you will have to trace various records down the ages for different individuals in your family tree. Records that come in useful include birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, house or land deeds, last will and testaments, tax forms, census records, immigration and emigration records. Research is the keystone of a good family tree so make use of the free genealogy databases that are available online. Or take up the membership of paid genealogy databases so that you get access to better records on your ancestors. You can even hire a professional genealogist to do the research for you, but that takes the fun out of making these discoveries yourself.
The right genealogy supplies make storing records easier
The amount of research you put into the family tree will get you a good deal of paperwork. You will also come across all kinds of old family heirlooms or mementos that will need to be studied and stored. This is where the right types of genealogy supplies will make it easier for you to stay organized. Get files and folders for copies of paper records. Store audio interviews on CDs and make sure to label and store them in order so that you can retrieve them when you need to refer to them again. Make digital copies of all original records and have them stored online so that even if your hard disc crashes you have access to them. Keep updating these files as well so that there is minimal chance of lost data. There are specialized genealogy supplies which can help you stay organized, so invest in them. They will make your life easier in the long run.
Showing off the Family Tree
As the details of your family tree trickle in you will want to show off what you have managed to uncover about your family history so far. A family tree scrapbook can be a great way to do so. You can start family tree scrapbooking with a family tree chart on the first page. Now add details of each individual’s life to the scrap book on each subsequent page. You can give details of birth, education, marriage, spouse, children and death for a single individual on the family tree chart. Add photos and other relevant images that you have collected. Give references to official records they feature in as well. You could even add an appendix to the family tree scrap book with copies of such records. You could even make individualized family tree scrapbooks for nuclear families and pass them on as gifts. It is personalized and precious as no store bought gift can hope to be.
Using a family tree maker software
By using family tree maker software you can automate much of the building of your family tree. All you need to do is feed in the relationship and the details of an individual and the family tree making software will do the rest. There are fine examples of family trees made using automated software. Some of them allow you to build family tree online on a website. This makes it easier for you to share the results of you genealogy research with other family members and interested parties. Another interesting feature of family tree maker software is that you can add a family tree digital video to it. This is not possible with a family tree scrapbooking exercise.
Different types of family trees
Even if you download family tree maker software you still have to decide just what kind of family tree you want to build. There are many generations a family tree can follow through a paternal line. This form of genealogy research will focus on a single line of descent. Or you could research your family tree based on all the different siblings and cousins that are alive today. This way you can build a family tree online and have new members joining in. You will discover new relatives and have fun making connections with them as they explain through which generation of the family tree they connect to you. Amongst the many examples of family trees I saw I even liked one where each member of the family contributed a favorite recipe for the family tree scrapbook. So you had the family tree relationship chart up front and then a set of recipes in the subsequent pages.
Family tree research is an ongoing project
As families keep growing the research of a family tree is an ongoing project. The genealogy supplies can be entertaining. The free genealogy databases can be illuminating and you can spend hours amusing yourself if you download family tree maker software. The truth is that like any hobby the study of your family history can also be time consuming and satisfying. There is always some new member to add. It may be an old forgotten ancestor or it may be the great grandchild who was born two days ago. It could be the new bride who married into the family through your nephew or it could be a missing sister of your grandfather whose family suddenly surfaced in some genealogy database that you were going through. So be prepared to indulge in this hobby all lifelong.