Do you suddenly have a burning desire to learn more about your family history? Learning about those who came before you can unlock so many unresolved answers in your life. From discovering your native country and culture to figuring out more about your medical history or famous relatives, there’s a lot that can be revealed from tracing your roots. The only question is, where do you start? Though there is more than one way to start your journey, here are a few of the best resources to get you started.
Talk to Elders
The best source of information to discovering your ancestry is likely going to come from your family. Talk to elders in your family to learn more about prior generations. You may learn that you’re related to a renowned artist who completed famous portrait paintings in the 18th century or that your family was immigrants from Ireland. You may have to listen to a bunch of stories (sometimes the same stories repeatedly), but the information could be critical in giving you a starting point.
Most families have family photos and other portraits that they’ve accumulated over the years. These photos help to capture moments in time and can tell stories that unlock the doors to a world you never knew.
Attic, Basements, and Storage Units
A good old-fashioned treasure hunt could lead you to more information about your ancestors. Don’t hesitate to ask relatives (especially the elders) if you can take a look in their basement, attic, or storage unit. Things like birth certificates, letters, postcards, awards, certificates, report cards, health records, and a host of other items could provide more information that can be used to locate members of your family.
Newspapers are essentially a historical record of everything that happens in history. From birth and wedding announcements to obituaries and estate information, you can find a ton of information on your ancestors in online newspaper archives. If you have facts like the family name along with the city, state, and/or country they resided in, you can gain instant access to a ton of information that can be further used to enhance your investigation.
If your relatives were born or resided in the United States, the US Census can be a very instrumental tool in helping you to learn more about them. The records have detailed information including names, relations, date of birth, marital status and more.
There are a lot of genealogy sites available online now that can be used to help you put together a family tree and connect with other relatives from around the world. Some accounts are free, but others will cost. Depending on the platform you use, you can create a family tree, search other family trees, and get regular updates on potential matches for relatives. Not only does this narrow down the search but it connects you with other individuals who are on the journey as well which provides support.
Family holds a huge significance in your life. The more you learn about the generations before you, the more you essentially learn about yourself. If you’re interested in discovering your roots or putting together the pieces of your family tree, the above-mentioned sources can make the process easier.