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Genealogy and the Treasure Hunt!

Updated on January 20, 2020
powers41 profile image

I have spent many years researching and compiling to attempt to complete a family tree. I started before the computer age and the internet.

A Genealogy Tree

Genealogy Tree
Genealogy Tree

Family Search Organization

In May 1999, Family Search Organization debuted on the internet, and within a few days after the launch, the site had over 100 million hits! Is it any wonder, then the power of the net and the thirst for genealogy burst forth. Family Search is a part of the Genealogical Society of Utah, which was founded as a non-profit collection of millions of records digitized for the researcher.

Family Search is, without a doubt, the very best FREE genealogy search site and can be found at www.familysearch.org.By the year 2018, Family Search added its two billionth research notch.

Researches world-wide were now able to see these records simply by entering their names and dates. What a boon this gave researchers. Now, instead of heading to libraries or requesting information by snail mail and maybe waiting weeks for the information, it was within seconds on our computers.


What is Genealogy?

What is Genealogy
What is Genealogy

What is Genealogy?

To describe genealogy, it is merely a collection of names, dates, places, and facts, and it is our goal to put these puzzle pieces together to compile a family tree. To start, you will begin with known facts and always writing the information down. And even more important is noting sources.

Using perhaps an Interview Sheet, you will interview your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings of each. Then slowly you will transfer the information to Familt Group Sheets and the five-generation sheets.

Research aids for Genealogy

Research Aids
Research Aids

My Quest for my Tree

When I started research for my family tree, it was 30 years ago. Long before computers! I spent hours searching microfilm, copying by hand pertinent information. It was backbreaking work but I loved it. I knew I was collecting valuable info. Then, I spent many hours walking cemeteries which somehow seemed like a sacred venture. It was like I felt a connection on the hallowed ground with my ancestors.

Unfortunately, between work and family, I had to set aside my hunt for some time. Now, tears later, the hunt is back on only now I am blessed with a computer, time and the websites like family search and many others.

Hundreds of genealogy sites are available. All one has to do is Google your question and pick one.


United States Census Bureau

United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau

Searching Census Records

Today, the United States Census records are online and easily accessible. The census records started in 1790 and are taken every ten years. In the 1790 census, the proportion of slaves to the free population was the highest ever recorded. It showed 694,280 slaves, which was about 17% of the community. Not a lot of information is on earlier census records. In 1870, more information was asked and included name, age, sex, color or race, occupation, the value of the real estate, and place of birth.

By 1900, even more, questions were asked. Now, it included name, address, relationship to head of household, sex, race, age, month and year of birth, marital status, number of years married, number of children born, or died.

And in 1930, more questions were added. It included name, street, house number, relationship to head of household, owned or rented, value of house or rent, sex, color or race, age at last birthday, marital status, age of first marriage, school, able to read and write, father's birthplace, mother's birthplace, immigration year, naturalized, profession, veteran and which war.

So, you can see all the valuable information from census records available.

Unfortunately, we lost 20 years of information from 1880 to 1900. The 1890 census records were lost in a fire at the U.S. Commerce Bldg in Washington, D.C. Some fragments do still exist but very few. Instead of the census, it is suggested to check city directories, Veterans census, and state census.

Military records are also a great source of information. Very often, physical descriptions are included, such as height, weight, the color of eyes, the color of hair, and any scars. I find this exciting and almost see what my ancestors looked like. Because of the 72 year rule, we will not be able to research the 1950 census until the year 2022.

Genealogy Software Programs

There are several software programs just for genealogy. Find one that best fits your needs. A free plan is the Family Tree Builder. There are others available for a fee. They all offer online support, and they are:

Family Tree Maker

Legacy

Family Historian

Roots Magic

Genealogy Software Programs

Genealogy Software Programs
Genealogy Software Programs
Legacy Software
Legacy Software

Other Great Sites for Research

There are so many sites now available to do research. Some that are available and I use repeatedly are:

Findagrave.com

Legacy.com

Ancestry.com (this is a fee-based website)

Just remember to go slow, write it down, record sources and find the puzzle pieces to complete your tree.


Ancestry for Genealogy

Ancestry
Ancestry | Source

Find A Grave Web

Find A Grave
Find A Grave | Source

Tips to Begin Your Search

It is suggested to do some reading before you start to familiarize yourself with searching in genealogy. Here are a few books to help guide you:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy 3rd Ed. by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George C. Morgan

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors by Marsha Huffman

Tips for Research

Tips for Research
Tips for Research
Tips
Tips

The Family Tree Problem Solver

The Family Tree Problem Solver
The Family Tree Problem Solver

Comments

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    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      4 months ago

      Fran, many areas of research are available in our part of the world but not information on any individual's family tree. Recently, interesting enough, a program helps to find adults their parents and original families, who got lost somehow in their childhoods and got detached from their original families.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      4 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thank you for your thoughts — shame you do not have access to many avenues for research. I hope you get them soon.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      4 months ago

      Nice to see you be on the quest of a family tree. All the information and resources for such a quest that you have provided are valuable and interesting. It will be years before such information become available to us in our part of the world. Great write, Fran.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 months ago from UK

      Family tree research certainly saw a boost in popularity a few years ago and there is a lot more out there in terms of resources on the internet than there was over a generation ago.

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