- Where do I start?
The first question to genealogy is "Where do I start?"
is the key to success! There are no quick answers to
and tracing family trees and family history but the following
information will certainly reduce the time required.
Information required to undertake a Genealogy search
any Genealogy research can begin it is essential to have some
key information about your ancestors. This information will give
you a clear starting point. The vital information required to
undertake a Genealogy search is as many of the following details
correct name and spelling of your ancestor, this must
include their foreign spelling
changes with dates, if possible
exact place of origin of your ancestor
- full dates of births, marriages, deaths and immigration
of friends or relatives who still live in the 'old' country
as much of the above information and your Genealogy research
will be made so much easier. Make a note of every piece of
information you obtain and ensure that this is stored in your
Personal Ancestry File.
- understand the history, origins and meanings of surnames
couple of minutes reading through our section on Surnames
will help with this task!
- understand the category of name
the category of a surname will help with research into the
genealogy. It will provide a good starting point and eliminate
any unnecessary areas of research. How would the name relate to
or describe your ancestor?
it relate to a place?
it describe a profession or trade?
it an 'adopted' name?
it a descriptive name - describing a physical or
it have been derived from a nickname?
History and Genealogy
Talk to members of the 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
sources. Give them a copy of the Genealogy Research
Ensure that you are clear on which language the Surname belongs
to. Family members can help with this type of confirmation.
a Genealogy minefield!
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 genealogy minefield! This
can be illustrated by looking at a name that is known throughout
the World - William Shakespeare. The name Shakespeare 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 and the following information about the English
English Alphabet has changed!
to the general confusion of surrounding the spelling of
surnames, there is also the additional problem in that the
English alphabet has changed over the years! This can make the
task of reading old English documents extremely confusing! The Tudor alphabet contained 24/25 letters, as opposed to the present day alphabet of 26 letters, and the letters "u" and "v" were the same letter as were and "i" and "j". The "j" was usually used as the capital form of the "i". The "u" was used only in the middle of a word, and the "v" was used at the beginning. The other difference was that there was another letter which resembled a "y" which was used to represent the "th" sound. So the word "the" was written in a similar way as "ye" would in the present day. Some words were also spelt with and additional "e" at the end. And finally, numbers were frequently given in lower case Roman numerals, with the last "i" in a number written as a "j". For example, viij March. This vital, but little known, piece of information about the alphabet is essential when looking at copies of original manuscripts of the period.
Yet another piece of information for the Personal
of Name - Voluntary Immigration - Forced and
our ancestors left their homelands for the chance of better
opportunities in different countries. The USA welcomed many such
people. However officials were unable to understand the many
different languages and so names were often registered in a phonetic
fashion by using the closest spellings that sounded similar to
the original names. Such name change experiences would have
happened to many of immigrants entered America through Ellis
Island and the Port of New York. In just thirty years, between
1892 and 1924, 22 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island
and the Port of New York. The number of immigrants in American
totals more than 50 million. Many immigrants entered the country
before 1892 and the first of such immigrants arrived on the
Mayflower in Plymouth Massachusetts, from England, on 26th
of Name - Forced Immigration
our 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 research
into genealogy compiled 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 family genealogy
more difficult but this is certainly not an impossible task.
References for Genealogy Research!
There are many reference books that can help - it's just knowing
which ones to ask for! Check out 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 search
Records for Genealogy Research
Official records will help provide detailed information in
relation to genealogy
- massive databases can be found via the following:
When you undertake Genealogy research you will come across some Official
terms. Some of them date back many centuries! Some of the terms
are therefore difficult to understand. We have therefore
included a Glossary of common Genealogical terms to ease this
problem. Please click the following link for Glossary
of Genealogical Terms. Please
print a copy of the Glossary and remember
to store it in your Personal Ancestry File.
Records for Genealogy Research
Unofficial records such as newspaper content can be invaluable
when conducting Geneology Research:
Records for Genealogy Research
Church records are invaluable when tracing the origins of your
immigrant ancestors. European countries did not keep National
central records. Official records were kept at local levels.
Church records together with cemeteries are a source of
excellent information. A Genealogy search can therefore require
that these records are considered:
Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(known as Mormons)
A extensive source of additional genealogical information is the International Genealogical Index
(I.G.I.) compiled by the Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have
undertaken this massive task as they believe that they can offer
Temple blessings to the deceased which will bind the family
together throughout generation after generation. This is an on-going project and is yet incomplete but the work
of the Mormons is admirable in gathering vast amounts of data
which could prove very helpful for those undertaking searches
- a fascinating subject!
that our guidelines will help with your interest in genealogy
and assist you in searching for ancestry and family histories.
We would be delighted to hear about your stories relating to
this great hobby!