Genealogy: A Sense Of Self And The Past


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Genealogy, which is a search for "family history" has been around for centuries. Knowing where you came from can be a link to your past, present and future. A search for your "family tree" can be a fun, interesting journey but it can also be frustrating when you hit dead ends.

The recent influx of interest is spurred by many classes that are taking place all over the country, teaching the best methods for searching for great grandmas and grandpas, and even their original lineages.

Many opt for hiring a board certified Genealogist who can reach further into the past through oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family. Their results are sometimes given in charts along with written narratives.

The motivation to find family history can be linked to family health history, country of origin of ancestors, preserving the past and future in knowing precisely where families originated.

Questions such as "where did my grandparents meet and marry" or "was my father legitimate" can be answered.

This is a project that can be taken on by the entire family, for an interesting and enlightening activity. It can be done in steps, but experts warn, it takes patience.

Frank Faulker, the head of the Texana/Genealogy department at Central Library, said the first step is talking with relatives.

“Get names and dates and places for births, marriages, deaths,” he said. “They're not going to have everything, but it'll give you an idea of what you need.”

“There is no easy button,” said Debbie Countess, a Texana/Genealogy librarian who leads the workshops. “It's like doing a puzzle, fitting the pieces together. It takes patience.”

One source that many find helpful is a very popular website, "" where more and more data is uploaded regularly and might just get you some important information.

There are classes for those who just don't have the family background information to even get started. Search public libraries and Google for classes in your area. There are genealogists that can get you started, and many are free.

Learning your family history can reveal decades of information about your heritage, nationality, marriages, divorces, siblings and might also include funny anecdotes about family members which can be extremely rewarding.

Image via Wikimedia Commons