“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.” — Anonymous
Knowledge about your roots can prove to be quite surprising. Getting to know more about the details of your origin almost feels like finding the missing piece to a puzzle. And the puzzle, in this case, happens to be you.
Have you ever noticed that looking at old photographs gives rise to some deep-seated feelings within yourself? You cannot possibly explain these feelings yet they are ever-present. Learning about your family background evokes the same kind of inexplicable feelings.
Researching your ancestors may seem like a difficult task at first but that is on ly because you have never attempted anything of this sort before and so you do not have enough skill and experience. But it is not really that hard if you set your mind to it. One of the central, yet most obvious, hurdles you will face in your quest to find out about your past is that most of the elders are already dead. Another reason might be that they have relocated to a different country. Lost records may also pose problems for you.
Clearly outline your objectives and goals as to the reason why you are researching your ancestral roots. This will help you find out which information is of great consequence and also point out the ways of doing it.
Wisdom of Elders
One of the simplest ways to gather information about the past is to chat with the elder relatives present in your family. Do not feel nervous while questioning someone about any information you might require. They are a storehouse of information and will be more than willing to share details with you so that you can go about constructing your own family tree. Ask your grandparents if they are still alive since you are likely to be on better terms with them and, therefore, they will feel more at ease when sharing all the information with you.
You may want to note down the information they provide you such as the full names of your grandparents, great grandparents or the older generations since that would prove to be quite useful.
Try to build your own family tree as far back as you possibly can or at least up to the maiden name of your great grandfather or grandmother and the names of their children. In some cases, they may not be able to recall some important names but that will not be too much trouble; what is essential is that you have their maiden names so you can gain access to more information from some other resources.
You should make it a point to go through the items which are present within your house at the time. They might be instrumental in yielding some priceless antiques that have close ties to your ancestry. The analogy of these objects might come in handy when tracing your family tree after a certain extent.
Utilize sticky notes or small tapes to denote these old antiques for the sake of maintaining a clear track of what information they hold instead of trying to collect them in your memory. This method is especially useful when dealing with pictures.
Follow the Paper Trail
Get your hands on some old documents from the place your ancestors stayed when they were still alive. Material like census could also hold the names of their descendents. If you gather their names along with vital dates, it will provide you with the opportunity to make sure that the folks you are researching fall within your family tree. It is possible to gather most of the dates from the information you get from the word of mouth.
Almost all of the information you get from printed records such as death and birth certificates are elements that will ultimately contribute to the success of your research.
There is a popular saying – “A picture is worth a thousand words”. In the process of searching for your roots, pictures, or even a single picture, from a separate town will offer you with a hint that there is some other individual who can give you the necessary details about your origin. It will act as a specific point of reference which you may use to figure out the possible date when your ancestors most likely entered that particular area or place. Once you have managed to accumulate all the information along with their accounts, you may move on to the other available sources of information.
Nowadays, most of the information you need is at the tip of your fingertips. Be sure to make use of the internet. Search engines offer you load of services, which you may employ when researching your roots. The data is accurate in most instances.
If all else fails, you could always take the advice of the great author, Mark Twain, who said, in good humour, of course, “Why waste your time and money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you!”
For some of you, it is necessary that you get in touch with your roots. You can find out a lot about yourself if you research and unearth information about your origin. A connection of sorts is formed between the past and present generations when you set out to know all you can about your ancestors.
Locating the roots of your family could provide you with the answers to many questions that you harbour in your mind regarding your life and family. You can find out which race your belong to or who you get your charming looks from; you may come across the reason why certain members of your family suffer from a particular disease or may even be lucky enough to take action so that you are able to protect future generations of your family members from inherited ailments you did not have any idea about.