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Family History in America

Updated on August 27, 2011

History of American Genealogy

A Short General Review on the start of American Genealogical Research

I have been involved in genealogy since 1966 and I have researched professionally since about 1970. I did “work for hire” from about 1970 to 2005. At the present time I no longer take many cases, but in all cases I work only North andCentral Louisiana.

Before 1836, there were very little – if any – genealogical type research was being done. Almost all of it that was done was for the sole purpose of proving title to some estate or to acquire a European title such as Duke or Baron or King, all of which carried monetary rewards including land, gold, etc.

There were no genealogical societies inAmerica. No genealogical organizations of any type. And there was no genealogical research of any systematic character anywhere in the world – except for the clerks who kept tract of the Royal lineages, and that was so everyone would know who should inherit the throne.

About 1837,Great Britain’s government passed laws compelling the preservation of duplicate records of the dead on the part of those who kept them, so we have the bishop’s transcript, and so forth.

In 1844, the first genealogical type organization was formed in the city of Boston– thus we have the New England Historical and Genealogical Society.

A few years later, New Jersey organized one for their area. As some of you may know, it had a number of “blue blood” families coming from the area of New York City where the families had settled as early as the late 1500s.

And in 1869, the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society was formed.

In 1902, the state of Massachusetts passed a measure providing for the compiling of the vital records of all the towns of the state, from their settlement down to the year of 1850. Can you guess who got the privilege of doing this? That’s right, the genealogical societies.

Then, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and other states followed that lead. Louisiana started requiring vital records about 1915.But even as late as the 1950's some parishes and counties did not fully comply. Just ask those researchers that have worked with the death records.

The interest in genealogy is still growing, even today. Family history research is the fastest growing “hobby” inAmerica.

I have researched my family and states where my families lived for over forty years and have lots of information, some I have shared and some I have not yet shared. On my Hubpages, I plan to separate my topic into states, then people, places, and maybe even food. My largest Hub will probably be Louisiana, but it will all relate to Family History in some way. You may even find a few interesting ghost stories. Who knows? I hope you enjoy whatever I decide to share.


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