For the Genealogist in all of us

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Guest post by Colter Brian.

Colter Brian is a former private investigator/photographer and now a freelance writer. When he writes, he contributes to sites such as Online Searches. Some of Colter’s hobbies include spending time in the outdoors and perfecting his pasta recipes for his toughest critics; namely his two children.

It’s true, despite our very busy lives and careers, we still long to connect with one another, especially among extended family members. Often times due to our extremely mobile society, family ties can be severed due to job opportunities as well as lifestyle choices, creating a missing piece of the family puzzle. If you are one who values family connections, history and relationships, then perhaps by heeding a few of these tips can help you grow your research and quest for missing branches from your own family tree:

Let’s look at four tips below to get those bare branches filled and on your way to success:

Libraries: One of the best places you can go to start your research is your local library, not only do they have access to thousands of records and archives, but their staff is specially trained to help out with research. Be careful though, often times at historical and university libraries, there may be a fee associated with your research request. Always ask one of the associates there how much time they can devote to your question before they may have to start billing. Just getting started in the right direction, may be all that you need to get help on locating missing ancestors.

Venture into the creepy attic or the spooky basement: No doubt, there was probably someone in your own family who was a bit of a historian. If you’ve got those cardboard boxes full of old family memorabilia, then get them out and start researching the materials that you already have. Chances are there may be items like birth announcements, newspaper articles, personal letters and other odd pieces of history that you, the genealogist extraordinaire will have to uncover.

National ArchivesGovernment Archive sites: Often times you can start your family search right in the comfort and convenience of your own home. If you have a couple of key pieces of information (i.e. first, last name and year they immigrated) you can start plugging in the names to get your search started. A site like http://aad.archives.gov can be that great stepping stone. Imagine finding your great-grandfather’s immigration papers and actually seeing his unique signature on your computer screen. Imagine what a day it must have been for him, one that changed the course of your family history, forever.

Background searches: Let’s say that your great-aunt was the family historian, but when you spoke with her she relayed that she gave all her research to one of her cousins, someone she has lost touch with and not spoken to for years. What to do? Not to fret. Log on and do a quick and easy background check. Chances are for a nominal fee you can locate this person in a matter of moments. A place like Online Searches will get the ball rolling.

We all come from somewhere and if you’ve always wondered about your past then there’s no time like to present to start your research. Who knows what amazing things you’ll discover about your very own family? By following these easy steps you can be on your way to discovering a richer and more fulfilling history, the one of your story.

Good luck on your family search!

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