Where Do I Come from? Have Fun with Pastime of Genealogy

Where Do I Come from? Have Fun with Pastime of Genealogy

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Have you ever been curious about your family history?  Have you ever wondered where do I come from?  Maybe you’ve heard stories about your ancestors that sound worth looking into, or you’re dying to know where your ancestors came from. If you’ve ever wondered about doing your own genealogy research and are looking for fun hobbies for women or a fun pasttime, then there’s no time like the present to take a journey into the past.

What Is Genealogy?

So, what is genealogy and what does it entail? Let’s start with the basics. Genealogy is a big (often misspelled) word for the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineage.

You may be wondering what makes the genealogical endeavor fun: You could discover that you’re related to someone famous — maybe an actor, bank robber, political figure or descendant of a king or queen in a land far, far away. Or you have a good idea where your forebears came from and you’d like to learn more about your ancestral village.

Where to Begin with Your Family History Search

The best place to begin your family history is to talk with your relatives. If you’re fortunate to have your parents and grandparents, then interview them NOW. Ask them about their parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters. Find out whatever you can about their lives. Get stories. Glean from them any tidbits you can: names, locations, dates. Just remember: Don’t put this off … or you may regret it.

Books for Beginning Genealogists

You may be tempted to jump right into online research. That’s OK, but sometimes it’s a good idea to see how the pros do their research, so you can learn from their mistakes and save yourself time and effort. I’ve listed here a few highly rated books that are targeted to beginners.

The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy: Trace Your Roots, Share Your History, and Create Your Family Tree

Crash Course in Genealogy

Looking for a basic book that’s a quick read so you can get started in your research right away?

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes: The quick guide to creating a family tree, building connections with relatives, and discovering the stories of your ancestors

Using Google Translate Website

At some point in your research you may run cross web pages in another language that you don’t understand. After all, you will be looking up birth, marriage and burial records, or also immigration and naturalization documents. No worries! Go to  www.translate.google.com, type the URL in the left box, select your language, then click on the URL in the right box. That will take you to the translated website. You can also translate documents and even just phrases or words. Finally, you can use Google Translate when requesting information from archives that only operate in their native language. Are the translations perfect? No, of course not. But it should be good enough for what you need. If you really need something to be as accurate as possible, then turn to a professional firm. There are many. These include; One Hour Translation  and GMR Transcription.

Genealogy Research Using Facebook

Although there are other free sites out there, there is a resource you may have never thought of turning to – Facebook! There are Facebook groups for myriad links. It’s free! Use THIS LINK to ensure you access the most up-to-date list.

The Best Totally Free Genealogy Websites

Now that you have a starting place, your next step is to begin your research online. The largest free genealogical website is www.familysearch.org. This website is truly the best place to start. FamilySearch offers the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world containing more than 4 billion names and 2 billion digitized records. FamilySearch allows users to create a family tree in its database – all for free. The FamilySearch Family Tree is a shared family tree containing some 1.2 billion ancestors. “Shared” means that no individual owns their tree; it is part of the shared tree.

For those needing help, there is a telephone help line and, for face-to-face help, nearly 4,750 FamilySearch Centers worldwide.  And although the site is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, church membership is not required, though there are some perks if you do belong. All you need to use the site is to create a user account, which – again — is free.Another free site that can be helpful is www.findagrave.com. This website, owned by Ancestry, allows users to search cemeteries for graves. Many of the listings include photos of the gravesites. By registering, users can add graves along with information about your deceased ancestor.

The Best Paid Genealogy Websites

Here’s the thing: When you search “Free Websites” on Google, you’ll see a lot of results. The problem is, many of them aren’t exactly free. If you read carefully, you may discover that they are free for an introductory period, which may be only a month, and they may require you to register and provide a credit card.

Getting Started with Ancestry.com

But if you are willing to pay for access to a huge database featuring more than 20 billion records, then Ancestry.com is the site. Records include birth, marriage and death certificates; voter records, and ship passenger lists to name a few.

Like FamilySearch, Ancestry allows you to create a family tree. There are more than 100 million family trees on Ancestry.

Ancestry.com will set you back about $99 for six months of membership to the U.S. Discovery plan, which lets you access all U.S. records on Ancestry. If you want to do U.S. and international research, you’ll need the World Explorer plan, which will cost you about $149 for six months. Finally, if you spring for the All Access plan, which is $199 for six months, you’ll get membership to Ancestry, Newspapers.com Basic, and Fold3.com, Ancestry’s historical military records website, with 537 million records. Visit the website for the most current package rates.

Don’t forget to watch for special deals. While there is no Ancestry free trial, Ancestry recently ran a special promotion offering three months for $1 for new members. But keep in mind, regardless of the trial offer, if you do not cancel before the end of the trial, you will be charged for an additional term. Read the agreement carefully.

While I’m not going to go into detail here, know that ancestry does offer a DNA kit, which can truly help you round out your ancestral research.

Using MyHeritage.com for Genealogy

MyHeritage.com offers access to nearly 4 billion profiles, 10 billion records and 50 million family trees. While MyHeritage doesn’t have as many records overall, it boasts more records from European countries. It also offers a DNA test kit to incorporate into your ancestral research.

The website offers a free download of Family Tree Builder software, along with Smart Matches™ Technology, which matches your tree to others automatically. 

MyHeritage offers a new feature that users may consider a deal breaker: You can upload your black-and-white photos to the website and they will be colorized. MyHeritage acknowledges that the colors are generated by an algorithm and may not be accurate, but when you compare B&W and colorized image side by side on their website, the color version does appear to make the image more detailed and not washed out like so many old B&W photos are. The choice is up to you. It’s certainly worth checking out.

In regard to special trial periods, make sure you read the fine print and give yourself plenty of time to successfully reach MyHeritage and cancel. Don’t wait till the last day!

Where do I Come From? Have Fun with Your Ancestral Research

If you’re someone who loves mysteries and solving puzzles, you’ll love tracing your ancestry. Once you get deep into the research, the information can be overwhelming — but the more relevant info you dig up, the better. Think of the stories you’ll be able to pass along to your family. And maybe you’ll even find yourself taking a trip to the other side of the world to see your ancestral home. There really is no better time than the present to get started and answer the question….where do I come from?

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