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Discovering Your Own Family Tree
My Search For My Ancestors
I remember, when I was younger, watching "Roots" on television. It effected millions of viewers like myself--and we became interested in finding out about our own family tree. I remember asking relatives for any family information, and gathering names, dates and places. Next I went to grave yards to find out about my family that had passed away from their records there. I wrote countless letters to county clerks for copies of birth, marriage and death certificates to find out more. It was a very time consuming venture, and often a discouraging one when I reached a dead end; but, I found enough information to get started on my own family tree, and I must admit it was exciting. I felt as if I were on some kind of quest. The excitement of finding each new bit of family history or a new ancestor drove me to continue further.
Technology Made Things Easier
Today, however, with all the advanced technology, searching for one's family tree is "a piece of cake" so to speak. There are countless on line sites that can help, and one in particular that I found most helpful--and it's free. It's called new.familysearch.org, and it is provided for anyone at no charge by the LDS church. Thousands of people have given their time freely to help do the work of compiling genealogy records from all over the world--so they have a huge data base to draw from. I was easily able to find census records that took me months to find on my own before, and without the fees and mailing costs. It was a major break-through for me. Believe it or not, once you tie into the work that someone else has already done on one of your family names, you could suddenly have hundreds of names, already researched, connected to your line. I found one of my relatives that was of royal ancestry, and his family tree went all the way back to Abraham in the bible, and from the bible records all the way back to Adam. It was like being on a treasure hunt, and finding my own family tree was the treasure.
How To Get Started
It's nor hard to get started. First go on line--if you don't have a computer, use one at a public library, or find an LDS genealogy center in your area. There is no charge for their help, and you don't need to be a church member. Next, log onto new.familysearch.org. There are lots of similar names--so be careful--it is the only free site that I know of. Then, go to the "Family Search Web Site"--it will come up, "Discover Your Family History". You can then put in a family name that you are searching--the further back the better. There is a place, on the site, to fill in the blanks, for first name, last name, place they lived, year of birth, and year of death. Just put in what you know--sometimes even a name and place alone will help you find that person. The site then will bring up any record they have found on your name--census records, birth records, marriage records, etc. If one name can't be found, try another. Keep finding names and see how far you can go.
Best of luck on your own treasure hunt!