What is Genealogy? Genealogy is the study of family history and family relationships. Genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the United States,behind gardening. Genealogical information is the second most commonly searched for material on the Internet. People who don't want to find skeletons, shouldn't look in closets.
Overview To introduce genealogy, I would like to talk to you about: How you can get started researching genealogy. Someof the resources available to you because you live in the Triangle area. How you can share your research with your family – including family you haven’t met yet. TheNational Genealogical Society Convention here in Raleigh this year.
Getting Started You want to get started and you want to find out really interesting information about your forebears. Your first impulse is probably ... to Google it. While there’s nothing wrong with that, and you certainly might get lucky, a more methodical approach is likely to yield better results.In genealogy, as in any branch of inquiry, it’s important to proceed from the known to the unknown. In genealogy, we can be more specific and say that you should start from one person, such as yourself, and move backwards in time.So how do you do this? The answer is: You start at home.
Start at Home Gather all the family information you can find in your home or with family members. One thing that most people neglect to do when they get started is to look at the family Bibles, newspaper clippings, photographs, marriage certificates, reminiscences and other documents, and to ask the family elders about what they know of the family history. Gather together all the documents that might give you information about people, relationships, dates and places. Interview people, especially the older people in your family to preserve their memories. Photographs often provide unexpected clues.
Research Methods Start from what you know and work backwards in time. Every piece of evidence can add to a definition of the puzzle. Document everything.It’s important to keep track of all of your sources of information, in order to be able to refer to them again in case you need to clarify discrepancies. Assess and evaluate your sources. How close is the source to the event it documents? Is there any reason for the person responsible for the document to fib or stretch the truth? Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search. It’s not good enough to get a summary that, say, your Civil War soldier was in a particular unit, without getting their compiled service record, for example. Case Study: Robert Washington Gregg, who was in Sherman’s Army, but sat out most of the war in a hospital in Paducah, KY.
Research Categories Research in the key document areas: Vital records – birth, marriage, and death records Census records Military records –Case Study: Thomas D. Via. Printed sources – For example, compilations of records, local histories. Case Study: The Murder of Jane Graham. Boundaries: As a genealogist, you will learn the histories of the boundaries of counties, states, and other jurisdictions. Laws:Study the laws and the changes in laws, especially the changes that lead to the creation of new kinds of records.
Living in North Carolina Living in North Carolina and in or near Raleigh ... you have enviable resources at your fingertips. North Carolina was on key migration routes. People migrated through coast and falls line trails down from Virginia and then inland. Many people from all over the country can trace their families to Tennessee, and then to North Carolina. The North Carolina State Archives on Jones Street has a great deal of this material. They have gathered together many pre-1900 documents from all of the 100 counties in North Carolina. Wake County has an excellent library that focuses on genealogy, the Olivia Rainey Public Library. In May of 2009, the National Genealogical Society’s annual Conference in the States is coming to the new Raleigh Convention Center.
Sharing Your Findings Sharing Your Research – Once you’ve done some of your research and are able to put together some kind of chart, stories, photographs, and so on, you will want to share them. Sharing on the Internet: There are a number of sites specifically designed for sharing genealogical information. Case Study: Magnus Lindskog. Flickr.com (photo sharing) Facebook (We’re Related is the 5th most popular application on Facebook) Ancestry.com Putting together a book: Some of the software packages for gathering family history information are also set up to output reports that could be published as books. Family reunions: These can be as big oras small as you want.