Ancestry Research Is Addicting!
Have you ever wondered about your ancestry? Where did your family come from? I never really wondered until my 9th grade honors history class. I always had a vague idea of my ancestors coming from Norway, Germany, and Ireland and I thought that was all there was to it. But this assignment opened my eyes to how addicting genealogy research can be.
For class, we had to create a family tree and go back six generations. We also needed to include unique or interesting facts on as many people as possible. This really was a family history project. Now, to let you know how hold I am, this assignment was pre-google. We had the internet but it was nothing like it is today. We had to actually talk to your relatives to get information.
This project started me down a path of wanting to more about where I come from. I’ve searched for more information on and off over the years. I do searches when I have a bit of free time. I currently focus on free resources because I don’t have a lot of time to invest. I plan to eventually purchase an Ancestry account to be able to really dig into some branches I get stuck on.
Why did I choose ancestry.com?
When I first moved my tree online, ancestry.com was pretty much the only option. I have over 400 people in my tree, and it’s easy to stay there. I think the info and layout are great. If you pay for the account, you can have access to information from other’s trees and records. I have a myheritage account and a few others but I always go back to ancestry.com because I have everything there and I prefer it to the other sites.
If you don’t have an online tree yet, look around and try all the different sites. All the sites have a free account and paid accounts. Try out each of the free to help you decide.
How do you find information?
I’ve been able to find a lot of information for free using census reports and google. Because of this information and ancestry.com, I woke up one day to multiple emails from people asking if I was related to a certain person and gave the family history that I didn’t have public. I responded and the exchange leads to my mom and her cousin heading to Norway for a family reunion. We later had a state-side family reunion and I was able to connect with family from all over the US and Norway.
I can’t even describe what it’s like to know my family in Norway. It also opened up a whole new world in terms of my family tree research because I always got stuck with information for the family once back in the homeland. Records are either lost, in a foreign language, and possibly under different names. Either the name changed when arriving in the US or when written down it was by sound and so you could have variations of your name.
What about questionable stuff or family?
If you aren’t sure about adding someone to your tree, I’d say don’t. Make a note of the information you have and do some more research until you’re absolutely sure they are part of your tree. You can always take someone out later but you don’t want to get false leads by having the wrong person in your tree. Most family tree sites will find documents and other trees that may be a match and once you link to those it’s harder to back out.
If you have family stories that you aren’t sure if they are true or just tall stories, you can add the information to the person’s profile. Most of the family tree websites have spots to include stories or notes. Put those fun stories there. You may never verify them but you can always enjoy them as family lore.
And you never know when your family stories will be confirmed by someone in the “old country”! I never thought I’d wake up to emails about my ancestors but it happened. You just never know what your counterparts are doing across the globe!