Have you been thinking of trying to find your ancestors, but don’t know where to start? You can start your search right here and now. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen.
The first place to search is your own memory. What do you already know?
Write down everything you can remember about
•Occupations and workplaces/Companies
•Any other piece of information that you think might relate to your family history
(I am sure you can think of many more things to write)
For this you can use a piece of paper or you can download various forms from the Internet. I suggest that you start out with the “Four-generation pedigree chart” and the “Family group record” You find them on this page.
After you have drained your own memory and got it all on paper, you got two choices: If you don’t have the time or drive to do more right now, you should store your writing among the other important papers you keep in your household. Then, at least you have produced a document that a future family historian will treasure.
The other choice is to take the step into the wonderful world of
The word genealogy comes from Greek Genos that means ancestry and logos that means knowledge. Simply the knowledge of ancestry. Some call themself Genealogists and say they do Genealogy. In Norwegian you find Slektsgranskere doing Slektsgransking. Whatever you call your new hobby or yourself is of little importance.
Genealogies have been around for centuries. We find them, among other places, in the Bible and in the old sagas. In a time before social security numbers, this was the only way to properly identify people. Persons were linked to their parents and to where they lived or came from. This way they kept Ola, son of Hans and Ola, son of Per apart. If you added that Ola Hanson (son of Hans) lived at the Haug farm while Ola Person (son of Per) lived at the Li farm the identification became even more certain. I suggest you read my two articles on Norwegian person names and Finding Norwegian place names.
It is not quite the adrenaline rush you get from parachuting and downhill skiing (not that I have ever tried either), but after having searched through page after page of handwritten records, there is a certain jolt of joy and excitement when the name you are looking for suddenly appear on the screen in front of you. You are in for a fun and interesting hobby. Many think of genealogists as nerdy loners wearing tweed-jackets while roaming around in dusty archives (did I mention pipe-smoking?). I can tell you right away that we are not. Genealogists are a large group of ordinary people who find a lot of ways to socialize and share our hobby. You can join various historical societies and there are numerous of forums on the Internet that you can join. You will find a lot of nice people willing to help and share. I have “met” a lot of great people through genealogy on the Internet. Some of those I consider among my best friends, I have never met face to face. I have written an article about Internet forums and mailing lists :”Finding fellow genealogists“.
You will find some strongly opinionated persons who like to tell you what you should, and should not do. It is important to remember that this is your hobby and you make it into whatever is pleasing to you. In that regard you should consider my writings as friendly advises based on what I have experienced over the years I have been involved in genealogy.
Now you can make yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and ponder on your future as a genealogist and have a look at some of the other material I have collected here at my blog. The next article in the “Beginning genealogy” segment is “It is time to clean out the attic”
For a little inspiration you can look at:
Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy
Record the stories of your life–or a loved one’s–for posterity! The Story of My Life workbook makes it easy: Simply follow the prompts to preserve memories from your entire life. The book includes sections on parents, siblings, childhood, high school, career, and adulthood. There’s also space to note vital statistics about yourself and immediate family members as a genealogical record.
The workbook features:
- Fill-in pages with thought-provoking prompts to capture key moments that define your life
- Advice and exercises to reconstruct memories from long ago
- Interactive pages for family and friends to share their own stories
- Special forms for spotlighting important people, places and times
A great gift for your children to learn about their parents’ lives or the jumping-off point for writing a memoir, the Story of My Life workbook will help you preserve your memories for generations to come.