Take a moment to look at your features. Take note of the color of your eyes, hair and complexion. Can you tell if you are of Irish descent, Chinese or, say, Mexican? If you are more than eager to know where those features came from, a little genealogical search won’t hurt.
Genealogy is commonly known as the ‘family tree’. There are many online search engines that are now available, which could aid someone who would want to delve into family history work. Examples are:
– Lists of Passengers on a Ship (as much as 10,000 passenger lists are available to be perused)- examples are Irish passenger lists to Canada and the US, Hamburg Emigration list, Germans from Russia to Canadian and US ports, US Immigration records on Ellis Island, Bremen in Germany to US list, Australian list.
– Last name search (over 2 billion names can be researched)- Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org are the top contenders in last name search. GeneaNet is also on this list. These give tips on how to start doing family history work and they point to other database search engines that could be as useful.
Cemetery search (list of more than 8,000 cemeteries around the globe)- African-American searchers have a separate search engine for their cemeteries.
USA search (indexes for last names, cemetery, census, SSDI, immigration, military and land records).
Country Search- countries under this category are Australia, European countries, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
SSDI (Social Security Death Index)- there are several search fields such as the social itself, surname search, middle name, first name, last recorded residence, date of birth, last benefit and date of death.
Ethnicity Search- focuses on African-Americans and Jews.
Database set up by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- also known as FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch is a collection of programs and files that can help an individual in his search for his ancestors. Inclusive in FamilySearch are: Family history Library catalog, the International Genealogical Index, Ancestral file, the SSDI, church records from Scotland, and the US military index.
Not only are they focusing on online searches, they also have their so-called ‘family history centers’ that you can visit to do family history work-free of charge!
If one prefers the ‘human touch’ in doing his free genealogy search, here is a brief background on these family history centers. One could go there (yes, these are physical meeting houses or chapels which number up to 3,400!) and start researching by accessing microfiches that record which microfilms to look for. There are different microfilms for different records such as: civil, marriage, as well as, death records.
Upon getting hold of the needed microfilm, one could proceed to either record on paper or use a computer. Pedigree charts, family group records, and similar forms are available on the family history centers or online. Other centers now have compact discs that could further ease up the tedious work on genealogy. Friendly LDS people, who volunteer to help, are always on the standby.
So, whether you are internet savvy and would prefer to do your genealogy online, or just someone who would like to be with other people to do research, finding your ancestors is a noble task. Do not think in terms of ‘workload’ but have a results-oriented mindset. You see, knowing where you came from and who the people before you were, could definitely affect the way you see yourself.