Tips On Finding Your Ancestors

United States
May 23, 2007 6:15pm CST
In the early 1980’s, my husband’s Grandfather became ill and was unable to take care of himself. He was so upset because he thought we would put him in a home for the elderly. We never even considered that move. Instead, we built him a room onto our trailer and moved him in with us. This decision proved to be both difficult and very rewarding. We had two daughters who were preteen at the time. We all learned much from this wonderful compassionate man. Like most elderly people, he loved to tell stories about when he was young. He told of the problems of growing up in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He told of the hardships that his family had been forced to live though. He told of the old logging work camps. . The logging camps and the days of the late 1800’s may be gone but his stories and memories will live on. These memories will be forever in our family because we took the time to tape him while he was telling the stories. Now his voice and his memories will play an important part in later generations. The stories of his parents and his brothers and sisters are not lost. They are alive and still being shared in our family. We have black and white pictures of the logging camps of days gone by. We are very fortunate to have all this wonderful information at our fingertips. You may not have stories like this to share with your grandchildren but you can share their heritage with them. There are many wonderful sties online that will help you to find your ancestors. You can find out where they served in the wars. There is just so much wonderful information that is available to you about your family. Do you have a desire to know what country they came from? With the wonderful world wide web, you can find this out and so much more in just a few minutes. You can find those stories that are about your Great, Great Grandmother or Grandfather. Are you ready to find out more about your ancestors and their stories? Come take a tour with me to the site called ancestry.com. Right Click here to go there now, that way you will still have this article to guide you along the way: http://www.ancestry.com/ Once you are on the home page, you will see a lot of information. Don’t be overwhelmed at all this. It is really easy to find you way around the site. Notice at the top of the page, you should see tabs saying Home, My ancestry, search, ancestry community, learning center and store. The tab that is colored green is where you are now. Notice also on the homepage is a section on the left that says “Start your family tree”. That is where you will probably want to start. Just type in a name that you know already and then search backward. After you have put in a name, click the green ‘get started’ button. That will take you to another page where you can put in all the information that you know. You could start with yourself and go backwards. Also on the home page is a section call “US Census collection” You can search by the year. Scroll on down a little bit more and you will see “more collections”. This section has birth, marriage and death records, The Social Security Death Index (SSDI), obituary collection and many other vital records Oneworldtree This section has A worldwide collection of millions of names in family trees submitted by members UK Census Collection The full UK Census from 1841 to 1901, including original images of the census documents US Immigration Collection Ship passenger lists, naturalization records, ship photos and much more US Military records Rich military records including original images of WWI draft cards and much more Members Collections An easy way to connect with other members researching the same ancestors Now, scroll on down to the last section on the left. This site has just added a new free audio storytelling feature to the family tree tool. Just click the “ Audio tab in the family tree and use any phone to record your story and have it saved to your family tree. I just love this new addition. Now our family stories will not get lost. Can you imagine if your ancestors had this feature available to them. What wonderful stories will you preserve for your future generations.? Now lets click on the “My Ancestry” tab at the top of the page. On this part of the site, you can start your family tree. You will be able to: Automatically search billions of records to grow your tree Gather your photos and historical records Easily share with friends and family You can even upload an existing family tree file from your computer. Now click on the “search” tab at the top of the page. This is the part that you will enjoy. Notice that on the left hand side it has four tabs labeled, Historical Records, Family Tree, Stories & Publications, Photos & maps. You will want to explore each of those tabs. Scroll on down a bit and you will see that you can search for records by location such as Region or by State On the right you will see a number of records listed. Have fun and explore the site before you start your personal search. Find out what wonderful things it has to offer. Now click on the Ancestry Community tap at the top. This is the area where you can share research or ideas with other Ancestry members. When you are ready to begin chatting with others just click on the Orange create profile now button. Now lets go check out the Learning Center. Click on the “learning center” tab at the top of the page. In this section you can learn helpful information and interesting facts about your surname. You can find out the following: What country did most people with your surname come from? What does your name mean? Learn answers to these questions and many more. Learn tips to help with your research. The site boasts that The Ancestry Library is the best collection of family history ho to and genealogy learning material on the internet. You can browse so many things at this section. Click on the store tab at the top. This section is where you will purchase any material that you are interested in about Family History. They offer everything from books to software and maps. If you need it, they probably have it. Now this site does charge for you to have a membership. Membership ranges in price from $34.95 for one month or you can upgrade to $155.40 for a year. There is a lot of things that are available to use for free but if you want the best information, you will need to pay for that. Now are you ready to find out where your ancestors came from? Have fun and get to know who you are by looking into your genealogy. I originally posted this discussion on Gather and received so many wonderful comments that I thought I would share it with my mylot friends.
5 people like this
12 responses
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
24 May 07
no one knows anything about my granfather's life in england. He was 6 years old when he came to canada with is family. I wouldn't know how to trace anything in england, I don't even know the town he came from.
3 people like this
• United States
1 Jun 07
http://www.familysearch.org has alot of stuff on it. There are certain parts of the site that is not available to the general public, only members of the church can view them. However, there is alot of stuff available to the general public.
@cherylmae (173)
• Philippines
24 May 07
my dad's side are chinese... its really hard to research on my dad's side ancestors because i couldn't understand chinese... too bad.. =(
3 people like this
• United States
24 May 07
Occassionally, I have found some online translator programs. You might try googling "chinese translator program" and see what you get. Then you could use the translator to help you understand any documents you find on line. I usually have to try and translate things from German for my family. Needless to say, I don't read or understand German.
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
24 May 07
Wow thanks for all of the information. My grandfather is working on our family history and I help him some. I am the only one in my family really interested in it. I also have my great grandmother recording of stories she has told and I have kept every card and letter she wrote to me. I am also fortunate to have her scrapbooks and old letters that she recieved from people also. I just treasure these.
2 people like this
• United States
24 May 07
Thats great... I have a letter my greatgrandpa wrote to the city of New York looking for a job. It was dated 1898. Thats the oldest thing I have.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jun 07
Gewcew23, Please purchase some page protectors that are specially made to preserve paper in. The more you touch them with your hands, even if they are clean, can and will do damage to the paper. Also the more you fold them the more damage you do. These papers are just too valuable to not protect. The sheet protectors are clean so you can see all your info. The oils on your skin will ruin these as will the natural ageing of the paper.
• United States
1 Jun 07
I have my grandparents family bible. I love to see their handwriting. They took such care to make the letters so beautiful. That is part of our heritage as well and I love it
@Polly1 (12648)
• United States
23 May 07
Wow, thanks for all this great info. I will be checking it out. I do know some things about my ancestry, but would love to know more. Thanks again.
2 people like this
• United States
24 May 07
familysearch.org is another great place to find info that you cannot find other places. If you need my help, just let me know. I love to help
1 person likes this
@Polly1 (12648)
• United States
24 May 07
I went to the site. They have free access to military records until June 6. I found my husbands grandfather. He signed his last name just like my husband signed his. Wow, it was like looking at his signature. I can tell I will be spending some time on this site. Thanks again for the great info. You are always so helpful, smile...
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jun 07
I am so glad that you found some info that you could use. I am always just an email away if you need my help. :)
@PsychoDude (2018)
• Netherlands
24 May 07
Gave the site a look again, like many times in the past and by now it seams one possible very very very distant relative transfered to the US in the 50's, but that's far from what I come from. I like know to data back to my great grandfather pretty much, but beyond that it gets quite complicated, especially sincere there aren't any real leads known and my family was quite boring when it comes to naming. In example my father, my grandfather and I believe my great grandfather as well all had identical names, outside of those there are other relatives with those names as well and they have been quite clustered in one location in the 19th century. I have done some info check on the further background but it's hard since France where it is known for my grandfather's great grandfather or something to come from when it comes to using technology is in the year 0, so simply can't do any searching on the name further there. Tracing a swiss name though which is very similar with basically 1 letter difference giving it more a bit of a swiss sounding can be traced back further, eventually going back into Germany into the late 13th century if the name is traced back. But there's a couple missing links in the chain as birth records and such dating that far back aren't taken up digitally that much yet making it hard to fill in.
2 people like this
• United States
24 May 07
Dont give up on your search. Have you tried familysearch.org They have some wonderful info that cannot be found other places. The Ellis Island records may be able to help you also. They are easily accessed through the familysearch.org also. Good luck to you.
• United States
23 May 07
Holy cow, that was a lot of information! I have made my rounds of the ancestry sites and found some information - but I'm missing a key ancestor from Boston who was a maid. My research may take me to Boston one day, and one of the best places to start looking when in the hometown of an ancestor is the local public library! Also very often there are Heraldry Houses in European towns (I found one in Limerick, Ireland) who will gladly do the research for you if you pay them a small fee and write to them with all the info that you have.) I regret not calling the Limerick Heraldry office before-hand, because they have very limited hours and work by appointment only. However, once you're in, all the info is free.
• United States
24 May 07
Have you checked familysearch.org They have some wonderful info on that site. We have our ancestors back to the 1500"s. If I can be of any help let me know. Do you have a LDS church close. If you do, check wiht them to see where the nearest LDS Family history center is. Anyone can use them. Also if you live near a LDS Temple, there is always a family history center close by. Good luck
@craftwave (1338)
• United States
24 May 07
I have used geneology.com as well as ancestry.com and another avenue of research is the Ellis Island family research center. I love the census researchs. It is amazing how much info you can find if you really want to. In some of my research I'm running into problems. Why? The civil war. It seems my Dads parents came from Virginia/W. Virginia. I have seen it listed both ways. Seems my grandparents were born during the civil war era and census records just didn't happen in the areas where the war was happening. I had never thought about it before I researched but my grandparents lived when W Virginia was still Virginia. If you can find a place name and it isn't to far away going to the court house to find records is great and if the place is large enough to have a historical society is another great place to start. I've even found the cemetaries where some of the family is buriied. Geneology research is addicting but it is very interesting at some of the stories about your family that you find.
2 people like this
@tammyr (5955)
• Etowah, Tennessee
24 May 07
Thanks for the kick in the tail to get me started. I am on the other pages and 'getting started'. I am glad I decided to start!LOL
1 person likes this
@tammyr (5955)
• Etowah, Tennessee
24 May 07
I have up to my gr.grand parents. I am going to get some family to help. This is going to be fun!
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
25 May 07
I only know my grandfather's name, not his county in england not the date he come over to canada, I only have that he as approximately 6 years old. I don't know his family their names or anything, we really have nothing to go by.
1 person likes this
@kelly60 (4548)
• United States
24 May 07
Wow, you have a lot of good information here. Thanks for sharing.
1 person likes this
@KarenLO (238)
• United States
13 Jun 07
Hi, I have all of the Ancestry.com sites available and I love it. I am also doing lots of genealogy. I belong to the local Geneology and Computer Users group and we have access to lots of CD's and special programs...I am also a Board Member of my counties Genealogical Society and we are buying all the microfilm available from our local newspaper with our money...we only have about 3 years to go. I think it is so important to get the stories from our older relatives before they die. I am pressing my aunts and uncles to write their life story...detailed...so that we will know some of those things that they did in their younger years. I asked my mother to write her life story and she had just finished hers up to date and she had a massive stroke and cannot communicate anymore...what a treasure...and I am so happy that she did that for me. I also use my local county vital records department for lots of information that is public. It will be harder to find information in the coming years because of the laws being passed for the protection of information...so we have to get the info while we can. I have been going through my grandmother's diary and it holds many facts that I otherwise wouldn't have access to. Thanks for all of your information.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
13 Jun 07
Cool! Glad you got started!
@soadnot (1606)
• Canada
24 May 07
its incredibly hard to find my ancestors because they come from so many diffrent countries that its not even worth looking.. look to the future! im sure "we" will be the first generation of ancestors for the future years, with all the computers and information, its easy to store.