Genealogy: A record or table of ancestry. 2. Direct descent from an ancestor. 3. The study of ancestry. [Lat. genealogia]
Tracing Your Family Tree?
1. Begin with the present and work your way back. The resources available to you now - photo albums, family documents and especially living relatives - are going to offer the freshest and most comprehensive information available to you. Make use of current technology to obtain copies of important documents from family members - marriage licenses, birth and graduation announcements, photographs - to include as you compile your research.
2. Make the most of family gatherings. Keep a tape recorder on hand and take advantage of the times when families get together. Ask relatives questions about how they came to live where they presently reside, how and what things are different now than they were in the past; where they were and what they remember about historic events. Individual stories will enhance and personalize your family history in invaluable ways. Be sure to get kids involved - they are naturally curious and come up with surprising perspectives on the lives of older family members.
3. Be patient - and persistent. Sometimes history can be difficult to trace, especially for African Americans. The good news is that more resources are available now than ever for following the path back as far as possible. Consider the task a meaningful journey rather than a destination. Be prepared to learn more about yourself as well as your family as you delve into your family history.
4. Share your history. Donate copies of family photographs and other documents - even your compiled record - to your local library, museum or historical society. Having the archival evidence of your family history on official record is an important contribution - not only to future generations of your family, but to your community and to your country.
Find out how she did it! Read about Linda Allen Bryant's novel tracing her family history back to George Washington.