In these strange and uncertain times family means more than ever. To bring your family together, I would like to give you a gift. Download my free 4-generation Ancestors’ Tree, print it and fill it out. The tree can be printed on your own printer, in A4 or A3 size.
Is your family separated at the moment? Why not FaceTime or Skype with grandparents and other older relatives who can tell you more about you ancestors?
Hopefully this will be a fun exercise for the whole family.
from Greek: γενεαλογία
genealogia and means “the making of a pedigree”. It
refers to the study of families, family history, and the
tracing of their lineages.
If you are interested in your family history, there are several ways to do research. You can interview older relatives who still remember those who came before you. You can use historical records, such as church records, tax records, army records etc. You can also take help from genetic analysis, DNA tests, and other records, to find out more about a family’s history and how they are related. Depending on your country of interest, different records may of course vary in availability and reliability.
The terms are usually used interchangeably,
but the traditional meaning
of genealogy begins with a person who is usually deceased and continues with his or her descendants
(children, grandchildren etc)
forward in time, while
family history begins with a
person who is normally living and
traces his or her ancestors (parents,
grandparents, great grandparents and so on) back in time. Genealogy
often refers to the scholarly
discipline of researching lineages and connecting generations, while family history
usually refers to biographical studies of one’s family, including family stories
and traditions, turning these historical findings into
people of flesh and bone.
Why do Genealogy?
The reasons why a person is researching his
or her family are of course as many as there are people doing it. But often it
comes from a wish to find out more about oneself. Many people feel that as they
get to know their ancestors they understand themselves better. Many also feel a
sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations.
may do genealogy out of curiosity about
their heritage. This can be particularly true for a person
whose family histories were lost or unknown due to adoption
or separation from family, death, or other
people may research their genealogy to find out if there are any hereditary
diseases in their family’s past.
The general interest in family history
has grown a lot during the last few years, because it has gotten a lot of media
attention, following popular TV shows like
“Who Do You Think You Are?”, “My Swedish Adventure” etc. The increase in public
interest in researching one’s family is also due to that now online records
are much more accessible, the
price of DNA test has gone down, etc.
The business of Genealogy
Amateur genealogists often research
their own and / or their spouses’ ancestry.
Professional genealogists may also perform research for others, publish books on
genealogical methods, or teach
genealogy techniques. They can
also work for
companies that develop and offer services around
genealogical software or produce materials of use to other
professional and amateur
Most family research is about trying
to understand, not just where and when people lived,
but also their lifestyles, biographies, and motivations. This often leads to a greater knowledge of history,
antiquated laws, old political boundaries, migration
trends, and historical socioeconomic or religious conditions.