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Genealogy and Family history

Updated on January 12, 2015

What is genealogy ?

Genealogy is the research into one’s past to find more information on your ancestors and their history . Genealogy is the study of your forebears , when they were born and where they lived, who their children were and who they married . It is also a very rewarding and addictive hobby , because as soon as you begin to uncover information of your ancestors and it is interesting you just want to know even more and you begin to delve deeper into the past . As the whole picture of your past begin to unfold , you will begin to understand where you are coming from and it will be the most rewarding feeling you can imagine . Some hereditary sicknesses can be traced back to progenitors from as far as 300 years ago , going in to the past can help understanding some of them .

How do you track your ancestors ?

By beginning with yourself , pen down all the information you know by heart and talking with relatives and friends and gathering information from them , that of your parents and grandparents – full names , birth dates and death dates . You may have useful sources at home such as birth certificates, obituaries, wedding announcements, a family Bible, etc. From there you look further up the tree , search the town your grandparents was born in for church records , if you can find their baptism records you will be a step further as their parents will be named in the records . If you know where a person died , you can search graveyards for their graves – a grave will have full names , a birth date and a death date . With baptism records and grave sites you can track quite a few of your ancestors back . Another place of interest is your local archives where you can access death notices and testaments of your ancestors if you know their date and place of death . Death notes will sometimes stipulate the names of the parents and will also give the names of the wife and children of the deceased . Other helpful records that can be used is war records , census lists , passenger lists , obituaries and even a lot of genealogy websites which can assist you ( some even free of charge ) in the search up your family tree .

How to store your info

A number of companies offer genealogy software programs to help organize information about ancestors, create reports and ancestry books and share findings online. The deeper you go into genealogy, the more you might find these features useful. There is a lot of genealogy programs available today where you can enter all your information on your ancestors and have it right on hand on your computer . On these programs you can enter the exact sources of information , you can enter all the facts of your ancestors and also upload photo’s and other documents . There is quite a few good programs on the market today such as Brothers keeper , Legacy , Rootsmagic and Family tree maker . There is also a few websites like Geni and My Heritage where you can build your tree but just remember if you use these websites that your tree will be available for anyone to see and have access to .

Family tree

a Blank family tree worksheet
a Blank family tree worksheet | Source

Why I search for ancestors

Sometimes people ask me why am I doing genealogy . Simply because I am interested in knowing where I am coming from . I want to know my ancestor’s likes and dislikes, their friends and their enemies. I just love history and trying to connect historical events to my own family . My recent goal is to proof that everybody in South Africa is family of each other . That is everybody with ancestors that came to the land in the last 300 years . My family tree consist of more than 10 000 people and I am still going strong with my search .

Why do you want to do genealogy

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