The Right Tools - Making Easy Work of Genealogy
- Our past plays a significant role in our present. Who we are today is in part - large or small - the creation of the people in our past whom we call our ancestors. It is in this light that the study of genealogy is born. People understand the importance of looking back in time to study the roots of their existence, to know about the people who make up the links of a long ancestral chain bridging that wide gap in time to the present and most recent link of them all - you.
Although the study of genealogy has plenty of benefits both personal and professional, aficionados should note that taking on a genealogical project is becoming popular these days because it is also fun and interesting. Aside from the many things you will discover about your past and your ancestors, diving into genealogical research will also yield plenty of insight into yourself in light of the things that have happened and the people who have lived before you in the past.
In order to successfully complete the research though, it is not enough to just show passion and enthusiasm for the project. You also need dedication and commitment as well as the right tools to make your genealogical research a worthwhile endeavor.
Here are some tools you can use to start in your quest to build your own personal family tree:
Word of Mouth - stories, especially if they are told in person, are a powerful tool for getting a wealth of information, it is thus one of the most basic and common steps genealogists take in gathering information. In official genealogical terms, this is called oral history.
Oral history can be documented through face-to-face interviews. However, if this is not possible, interviews can also be done through other means such as through the phone or a regular letter via post or through an e-mail. It is recommended that before conducting an interview, a set of questions be prepared in advance to avoid repetitions as well as to make sure that all details you need and want have been addressed by the interviewee.
Internet - using the internet to conduct your research allows you to do the data-gathering easily and conveniently. All you need is a computer and an internet connection plus a knowledge of the right sites to use and you're on your way to collecting a great deal of information that, if done traditionally, would have taken you days or even weeks to gather.
There are a lot of websites that offer free or membership-based services to help you do this. These websites usually have documents on record such as birth, marriage and death records. Some sites even have employment type and location on record.
DNA - Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA testing is a method used to determine the relationship between or among people by establishing genetic connections. This medical technology has been around for a while and has come to be used by the genealogy community as well for its infallible data.
There are two kinds of DNA tests. The first is the Y-line test. This test is very helpful to genealogists. It establishes relation by using the Y-chromosome which is only present in males and are usually passed on from father to son. The other test is the mtDNA test or the mitochondrial DNA test. This is used to determine if individuals come from the same maternal lineage.
Although extremely helpful, DNA testing is still considered a last resort for most genealogists, but if needed can provide incontrovertible proof of kinship. There are indeed plenty of ways and means to make sure that your research isn't just successful but also fun and hassle-free. By using these tools you will be able to unearth a wealth of information that will surely put you on a path to self-discovery through your family history.