Where do I
begin my Family Search ?
The first question is always "Where do I begin?" Research
is the key to success! There are no quick answers to
tracing family trees and
and conducting the research but the following
information will certainly reduce the time required.
Understand the history, origins and meanings of surnames
before you start your search !
couple of minutes reading through our section on Surnames
will help with this task! There is plenty of information
available to start you on the right track and ease the search
Search - understand the category of name
the category of a surname will help with your interest in
genealogy and your research. It will provide a good starting point and eliminate
any unnecessary areas of research. How would the family name relate to
or describe your ancestor?
to find whether the family's name related to a place
to find whether
the family's name describes a profession or trade ( Did you
know that the name Kellogg was a derivative of Kill Hog ? )
the family's name an 'adopted' name ?
to find whether
the family's name is descriptive name - describing a physical or
to find whether the name might have been derived from a
There are many reference books that can help - it's just knowing
which ones to ask for! Search for Surname Dictionaries and Place
Name dictionaries in your local library. There are also many
online resources that you can access - using Surname
Dictionaries and Place Name dictionaries as you key words
when conducting a family search.
Official records will help provide detailed information in
relation to genealogy - massive databases can be found via the
following and help with your family search:
U.S. Federal Census Records (1790-1930)
Birth, Marriage & Death Records
dating back to the 1700's
Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(known as Mormons)
A extensive source of additional information is the International Genealogical Index
(I.G.I.) compiled by the Genealogical Dept. of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons.
This project and is not yet complete but the work
of the Mormons is admirable in gathering vast amounts of data
which could prove very helpful for those undertaking a family
History and Genealogy
Arrange to discuss your ideas and findings with other members of your
family! Research into your own family
history will provide you with excellent genealogy information
about events and places. And will, no doubt, provide some
fascinating insights that are just not available from any other
Ensure that you are clear on which language the Family Surname belongs
to. Families can work together and individual members can help with this type of confirmation and
assist in your search.
can be a real nightmare to making a Family Search!
our ancestors would have been illiterate! How were names
recorded in the past? Many administrators spelled names
incorrectly - so many official documents have resulted in
different name spellings leading to a family search nightmare! This
can be illustrated by looking at a name that is known throughout
the World - William Shakespeare. If you search for the name Shakespeare
you will discover that it was spelt in an astonishing variety of ways including Shakspere, Shakespere, Shakkespere, Shaxpere, Shakstaff,
Sakspere, Shagspere, Shakeshafte and even Chacsper. The name of
William Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare, occurs 166 times in the Council Book of the Stratford corporation, and appears to take 16 different
forms! Our thanks go to www.william-shakespeare.info
for this information. It certainly illustrates potential
problems that can be encountered when conducting a search
of Name - Emigration - Forced and Voluntary
our ancestors left their homelands for the chance of improved opportunities in different countries. The USA welcomed many such
individuals. However officials were unable to understand the
numerous different languages and so names were registered in a phonetic
fashion by using the closest spellings that sounded similar to
the original names. Many of
our family ancestors, however, had no choice in their lives due to the
practice of buying and selling people into slavery. One of the
most famous books relating to the forced slavery of an African
in America was ' Roots ' by Alex Haley. According to the
search conducted by Alex Haley his ancestor was a man
called Kunta Kinte who was an African from the Gambian town of
Jufferee. A vital element in the story of Kunta Kinte is that he
desperately wanted to keep his own name rather than take on the
adopted name of his owner. Name changes obviously make
investigations into a family's genealogy
more difficult but this is certainly not impossible.
Search - a fascinating subject!
that our guidelines will help with your interest in genealogy and assist you in
your search for ancestry and family histories.
We would be delighted to hear about your stories relating to
your experiences when conducting your Family Search.