Family Tree - Genealogy
A family tree can become a source of some magical and historic moments from your past. Going back in time and learning about some of the most incredible tales about your family is something that you just cannot let up on. The possibilities of uncovering something incredible is so real, you just cannot think of it as anything else but the chance to use your spare time to do something valuable with it. Almost everyone has a family but there are very few people who actually go back in time to learn about their ancestors and make their own family tree. It is something that can become a whole lot of fun!
There are many reasons why you might want to go hunting for your ancestors and put them into a family tree. The first could be the search for a hobby. The most common reason to search for a family tree, people looking for a hobby generally go down a path that gives them a meaningful way to spend their time! What better way could there be for someone to go through one's own family history and find out how interesting a life their fore-fathers led. It's not a particularly difficult thing to do and once you get started, it is quite addictive.
Unearthing the Gossip
The first thing you need to do to get started is find the starting point. The youngest member of your current living family is the lowest part of the family tree so you start from there. You work your way back up and make a note of every one you know and put them in the order in which they are related to each other. Siblings come together at the same level and their parents come one level above them. There are no distinctions between males and females, so everyone gets onto the tree in the same way.
Now, once you've got the lowest rung on, it's time to work your way back up by putting in their parents, the grandparents and so on. Go on for as far as you know and as far as you remember. Once you've put in everything that you are 100% confident about, it is time to move into the ask-people zone. Now, pull out the phone book or head on down to your uncles' and aunts' places and start eating their head. Everyone knows who their parents and grandparents are, and you should get that part out pretty easily. Where it starts getting harder is when you go above your great-grandparent level. That is when putting the list together becomes harder and you need to start looking for other means to get things done.
There are many sources to find information about those who you don't remember much about. There are birth and death certificates that you can find from the local authorities while immigration documents are also a good place to start looking. Depending on where they might have worked, you may find something about them from their professions, especially if they were in the military or the police, where the records are kept more securely than in other cases.
Organize and Standardize your Family Tree Data
Collecting your data is not enough - you need to organize everything in the order that it needs to be in. The first step after gathering all the data is to make sure that you have everything in a neat stack of ordered documents for each individual. The organization bit allows you to understand exactly how and where to put each person in.
Even within those stacks, you need to have your own classifications. There will be a separate sub-pile for documents that aren't official or are something like handwritten notes and so on. This is to ensure that official documents get precedence over things that have been mentioned by someone on their own. You cannot give the same importance to documents that aren't official because there might not be any proof to back any of it up. Photographs are an excellent source of information as well, because most people tend to date their photographs to commemorate events.
The same is the case with portraits or paintings. If you have any idea about what your ancestors did for a living, you will find it a lot easier to track them down based on the kind of work they did and where they worked. Most cities keep a good record of the people who've lived there and those records are also important to maintain a good account of who was where and when. You may have to do a bit of legwork in trying to get all this information but at the end of it, when you are sitting there with your entire family tree and looking at all those people who have one so much before you and led to you becoming who you are today, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing everything there is to know about it.
So don't waste your weekends or your free time, put it to good use and find out who your family truly is and when you've done it all, make sure you print it out into a book or a journal or just a sheet of paper and send out a copy, to everyone in your family, of your very own family tree!