Genealogy Project

Yesterday I was sitting in the living room of my Silagh’s house talking after dinner and she mentioned a book her mother made about her Italian heritage that was on the coffee table. I’d seen it a little while ago and was reminded about a similar book that my paternal grandfather made about my own family. Silagh mentioned that her mother was now working on a similar book about her Irish heritage. This got me thinking about working on doing something for my family. With all of the resources available on the Internet, why not?

The book that my grandfather made was really neat, maybe because I’m a history geek but also because it was about my own family was inherently interesting. The quality was a little inconsistent, but considering he’s not a “technology guy” it was certainly admirable and a whole lot more than most people have done. I know that there are a ton of “for pay” websites out there, and I don’t disagree with paying for access to data, if necessary, but I also don’t want to waste money paying for data that is legally available publicly from another source. Do you have any recommended sources for researching or confirming family history data?

The other thing that I’ve been thinking about is how and what to document. Obviously when you’re talking about someone’s entire life there’s an infinite amount you could document, but what are common things that people list? What’s the best way to collect the data and keep everything in order? The geek in me says that the best way would be to do something in a database, but I’m not sure if that’d be the easiest way to record it. I’m also thinking about possible ways to present the data once it’s collected. If you know of any good examples of genealogies that have been compiled , can you send me a link in the comments? I’d love to see what you’ve come up with or done on your own.


6 thoughts on “Genealogy Project

  1. Of course I an’t resist anything with GENEALOGY in the subject line. I started seriously playing around with the topic when I retired in 2001. Let me warn you that it can become addictive & many people will wnder about your sanity. It can also be expensive, of both $$ and time. But many records are now digitilized which wasn’t the case 10 years ago. A good starting point is FamilySearch — it has tutorials which point you in the right direction, give reporting forms — all FREE. Some local libraries also have subscription sites that can be accessed by their members, but you’ll have to check out the possibilities of your own. FamilySearch is operated by the Mormons which you might find problematic. They don’t proselytize & if you have a local LDS church with its own FHC you might find someone helpful there (no guarantees). There are many more sites out there, many of which you can easily access, especially if you have computer skills. Documenting is important since you frequently backtrack and can save yourself lots of time. And it’s fun to discover traits among your descendents that explain your own personality. Ah, the blame game!

    • I started with census records, then branched out from there. I’ve found quite a lot of evidence that corresponds to what I’ve been told, and then some other stuff that seems to strike it down. With the 1890 census records being lost in a fire that leaves a big hole in my search. I am confident in my findings back to 1900, but then jumping to 1880 I get stuck. I did some searching based on names that my grandfather remembered and if he was right (I have no reason to believe he wasn’t) I can trace back to an ancestor born in 1783 (Also found online where the grave is located) and possibly back to 1757, but that’s where it gets hazy. Of course, that’s just my dad’s side of the family and I’ve only done a small bit of searching, but it’s certainly a lot of fun.

  2. I’m so glad your interest is peaked in knowing more about your own family history. One of the things my mom is doing with her research is more than recording birth/death/marriage dates and occupations. Some of most delightful fruits of her work is in her writing. Reading her descriptions of family personalities is like a permanent visit with her over coffee. Perhaps it’s her Irish storytelling gene – doesn’t matter. She’s a pretty darned good writer.

    • I don’t claim to be a good writer, but I plan to expand beyond the family tree part (births, deaths, etc.) when I can, but you have to start somewhere, right?

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