Do you ever wonder who you are? Where you come from? If your family history has anything to do with how you were raised and why you think the way you do? I have always found genealogy an interesting topic. My sister was more of the researcher; she was really into tracing our roots as far back as she could. She became so involved that she would go to graveyards and record the gravestones to put on websites and help other people tracing their roots, too.
While I was always interested, I never really thought much about it until I came across some of my sister’s items last week. Inside a box full of books were pictures of my father when he was very little. But what really caught my eye was a copy of his adoption paperwork. I knew my dad was adopted but we never talked about it. All of a sudden, here was this paperwork – and it was so interesting to see how they handled adoptions back in the 1940s. Just a simple typed piece of paper with so much information. My dad actually lived an entire year with a completely different name! I found that so odd, to think of him having a name other than Jim.
Once I found that document I wanted to see what else I could find about who my father’s real parents were. I’m currently looking to see if my sister had that information. I can fully see why people get caught up in researching their history, though. Have you seen the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? I’ve caught it a few times and it’s so interesting.
If you’re ever thinking of looking back through your family’s history, here are a few tips:
- Start by talking to your family. Someone may have a family tree broken out somewhere or even own a family bible that has births and deaths written inside. Many of your older relatives will remember who was related to whom, places people lived, or other vital information. Stories told from person to person can have interesting information that end up being important to researching your history.
- Search newspaper archives for stories or births, deaths, and marriage announcements on your family members.
- Search the US Census. This is the largest resource for locating your family and their history. Start with one or two families in your family tree to help you organize your research. If you begin with smaller pieces it helps create the larger family picture.
- Other places to search: Military records, Immigration records (ship passenger lists), Land records, and Naturalization records.
- Try websites such as ancestry.com I know this is where my sister found a lot of information…she even found a relative of ours in England who helped fill out our family tree a bit more!
I’m a history buff, so knowledge of my roots and where my family comes from really goes hand in hand. We’ve traced our tree all the way back to Mary, Queen of Scots! If you’re thinking about researching your family’s history I wish you luck! It’s always fun to see what turns up.
Cathy Thurber has over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry and likes to think she’s learned a few things along the way, one of which being to not take herself too seriously. She would love to say she has as many cool expertise’s as her fellow blogger, Ken Kukral, but she’s just not as old as him. Cathy is a voracious reader and a total word nerd. Most importantly, she’s been married to her favorite person for almost twenty years and has two kids that she actually likes. However, the dog is her favorite child and she’s been wheedling for a cat for years. Perhaps this is the lucky year?