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Genealogy final


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Genealogy final

  1. 1. Dalton Blackmon 1Dalton BlackmonMs. BennettBritish Lit13 September 2012 Genealogy Where It All Began Do you ever wonder “Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” That’s the question I’ve been asking for years, given how many blanks there are in my family history. What I plan to do is fill in these blanks, those questions that have never been answered. My family for the past seven months has been asking me to do research on the family, since I am the most passionate about my family history. I will be going through the history of the study of genealogy and modern genealogy sources, the basics to consider for research, and what I expect to find. The study of genealogy, Greek for "generation" "knowledge", is the study of tracing ofpeople’s lineages and history. Using birth records, death records, marriage and divorce records,Church records, coroners reports, court records, civil records, criminal records, diaries, personalletters and family bibles, medical records, military and conscription records, ect. Genealogy isoften entwined with heraldry, which is the idea of ancestors’ of royal birth which are reflected onthe family coat of arms, which only the people of higher society could have, but many believethat these could have been fabricated. The study of genealogy in the United States can first betraced back to the 19th century with John Farmer, 1789-1838. Tracing one’s family ancestry inAmerica was first done by the early colonists to try and secure a higher standing in the colonies
  2. 2. Dalton Blackmon 2under British control. John Farmer idea was to capitalize on the acceptability of antiquarianism(person that studies antiquities) to frame the genealogy during the early years of the republicideals of pride in one’s American ancestors’. Farmer corresponded with other antiquarians in theNew England area, which in this area was the best concentration of the study of genealogy andantiquities, to which Farmer contributed much to the cause in the area. During the 1820’s Farmerand his colleagues started to produce genealogical tracts earnestly, slowly but shurly starting togain a devoted audience with the Americans. After Farmer’s death in 1839, because of his effortsin the field, led to the creation of The New England Historic Genealogical Society. Along withNEHGS the Genealogical Society of Utah was formed in 1894 in Salt Lake City, Members ofThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that tracing family lineage is essentialfor special religious ceremonies that seal family units together for eternity. The GenealogicalSociety of Utah houses over 2 million microfiche and microfilms of genealogically relevantmaterial, which are also available for on-site research at over 4500 Family History Centersworldwide, it is the world’s largest database on family lines in the world. There are many basic things that one needs to take into consideration when doingresearch about one’s family. Location of ancestors’ home and life are very important elements ofresearch, in which it can be very confusing. Things like place names can be subjected to variantspellings by things like literate scribes. Along with this is that a locations name may haveresembled that of another with a similar name, along with the shifts on the political borders.Another thing to be cautious of is with dates, which are more difficult to recall years after acertain event, and are often the easiest to mess up on than any other area of one’s research. Inwhich it would be best to get a source that was recorded during the time of the event. One’s
  3. 3. Dalton Blackmon 3ancestor’s occupation information would also be very important of understanding an ancestor’slife. An ancestor’s occupation could be related to his or her social standing or social status,migration pattern, and political interest. Especially since skilled trades were very often passeddown through generations from father to son and so on. Research regarding given name aka firstnames has many problems similar to the problems from the above, like family names, placenames, and nicknames which were very common. Regarding many cultures around the world, aperson’s given name can refer to that person’s family to which they belong. Which is calledone’s family name, surname, or last name? There are also things called patronymics, which iswhen a person is named after their father, grandfather, or just about any ancestor that was male,many different cultures used this before adopting the idea of using surnames. Finally how to research your family history though websites, books, and otherresources. The first thing you should do is contact your oldest relative, and start asking questions about their parents or grandparents. One needs to record names, birthplaces, death places, and any other names that pop up that they may not know too much about. One needs to try for maiden and legal names. The next question one needs to ask is what was their family or family member like, did they have hobbies, what line of work were they in, important events that happened in their life. Don’t forget to ask about their life as well ask about things about their education and what was it like in school back then, stories about their parents or grandparents, military service in the family, early childhood memories, other relatives in the family, celebrations and holidays, objects worth remembering, fashions during that time, world events that happened during their time, and typical day with the family or outing or dinner.
  4. 4. Dalton Blackmon 4 Vital records will give one a broad aspect about someone, but it will not tell oneimportant details, that’s why one needs to ask as many questions as possible. After interviewing your oldest living relative, start with information that one already knows. Use the information collected and starts putting it all together as accurate as one can, then try to find things like newspapers, family bibles, diaries, and photos that can narrow things down or confirm a fewthings stated. From there one then questions closer family members using the same format, thenstart to put the pieces together. Then start to do more intimate research on things like documents’ like birth and death records, marriage and divorce records, military records, and depending onyour family church records. Now for the use of websites such as which will whenyou start to form a family tree will give one things called leaflets or clues about the informationone has put in, now this can be used as something to look into, but do not just decide to go with what the site has given to you, for it may not be true and could be just a guess. So use theinformation that they have suggested to you and then do more of your own personal digging intoit to see if there is any truth to what they sent you, it could be true or false information or it couldbe just slightly off. So the main thing is do not believe everything you read on the sites or in any case the internet. In conclusion these points can help one conduct deep detail into understanding even just alittle bit about what many of us ask “Where do we come from?”. Although these are not all the questions that one needs to ask or cover every aspect one needs to cover in their research, but these are the clues the broad aspects of how to begin a difficult journey into the search for whowe are. One just may surprise themselves in what they might find, so the posing question is “Do you have what it takes to find the real answers that have been lost to many other before you?”
  5. 5. Dalton Blackmon 5 Works Cited"Awards & Competitions." National Genealogical Society., 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. <>. Contain information I gather on Mr. John Farmer a legendary genealogist who published the First Settlers of New England in 1829, and lead to the creation of the New England Historic Genealogical Society."Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah." FamilySearch Library., 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <>. Contains history about teh Family History Library as well as details about how it works, and it is the website of the FHL itself.