Anyone know anything about Geneology?

  1. I would like to do a family tree, but I don't know how to access public records or what's available without spending a lot of money.

    Should I take a course? Or buy an online program? Or just a CD program?

    How much should I pay?

    Any tips are welcome.
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    I started doing this a while back, but never finished. lol

    I think the first thing to do is ask around to see if any of your family members has information to share.

    I got on one website and ended up running into a cousin of mine who lives in a different state. She was also doing genealogy research. lol


    Good luck!
  4. by   babynurselsa
    Our library system actually has a geneology library. My dh has done much research. I have done none. They have been able to get things on loan from other sources. If you know at least where some of them hailed from you can acess some of the pulic records from those counties I do believe.
  5. by   NewEnglandRN
    Hi Angie,

    Geneaology is fascinating! I was really into it before I returned to Nursing school and had to put my research on hold due to lack of time.

    If you have a community college near you, I would recommend taking a course. First thing to do, is interview all your relatives about what they already know. Write everything down... you never know when a piece of information will suddenly "fit" into your puzzle.

    I do have to warn you that it is very addictive!
  6. by   psychonurse
    So many relatives are gone, there isn't very many people left and the ones that are have some really addled minds. I don't know if I could get into that now...It would make me realize how unclose my family really was and is....
  7. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from psychonurse
    So many relatives are gone, there isn't very many people left and the ones that are have some really addled minds. I don't know if I could get into that now...It would make me realize how unclose my family really was and is....
    Toi start, you need the birth dates of your mother and father, their parents birthdates and death dates, the birth dates of all of their brothers and sisters, their spouses, and all their off springs. If the emigrated to this country and came through Ellis Island, you may do research on that, thru E.I. on-line data base, That should keep you busy for a year or two. After going back two generations, yoiu will need to access marrigage licenses as well.

    Word of warning, unless the party whose birth certificate you are seeking is dead, you will need their permission in most areas. My aunt spent almost 15 years research just my mother's side of the family. She spent a great deal of time and no small amount of money, going back to the 15th century. And you might not like what you find. I finally learned the cause of my older sister's death and it was not what I had been told.

    Grannynurse
  8. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from grannynurse FNP student
    And you might not like what you find. I finally learned the cause of my older sister's death and it was not what I had been told.

    Grannynurse

    That's actually one of the reasons I want to do this. I'm wondering what else I haven't been told....

    My cousin (we don't speak, so I can't ask her advice) did a search and went back to the Revolution on my maternal side. Had some interesting finds there too. Apparently we had a 17-year-old who "pined away and died" after her fiance's ship was lost off the coast of NC, for one.

    As a nurse, I have a hard time thinking about the average 17-year-old doing that, but I suppose back then it was possible--or maybe "pining away" was a nice euphemism for suicide?

    Thanks for the heads-up though.
  9. by   ats
    Angie, I actually used a lot of different sources, some pay and some not, when I did research about 3 years ago. (My parents had died, I have no family and never married, so if I couldn't follow things forward, I wanted to know what family was behind me.) I'd be more than happy to pull some of my information together for you and send it on.

    I would recommend the computer program that I use, Family Tree Maker. You can put the basics you know into the program, including any narrative notes, stories you've heard, etc., then print a variety of reports from that, including (of course) a family tree.

    Each birth/death certificate you find can be a trove of information as well, often giving the residence, place of birth, parents' names, etc. Use that to fill in some blanks and give you new search directions.

    If you know that relatives were in the military at any point, the National Archives can supply you with a lot of information as well. I've received pension records for a great-great-grandfather who died in the Civil War -- details of his children, family feuding over control of the children and pension, etc.

    You can try these free sites:

    www.rootsweb.com -- they have a bulletin board as well, and many deal specifically with individual family names. You can post there. (I've found 4th cousins this way.)

    www.ellisisland.com -- immigration logs

    genealogy.com -- some free information you can look up, some you'll have to pay for. (I bought a subscription to U.S. census records and found several good tidbits.)

    ancestry.com -- again, some free, most you'll pay for. (I did pay for this and found it very helpful.) Some information is from records, a lot is supplied by other people doing research, so you must be aware that there may be some errors or missing information once in a while.

    cyndislist.com -- lots of information, fun to look through.

    I'll look at my records and see what else I came up with. It doesn't have to be expensive to do this, and was actually quite a bit of fun!

    Charlotte
  10. by   live4today
    Quote from MichelleinMA
    Hi Angie,

    Geneaology is fascinating! I was really into it before I returned to Nursing school and had to put my research on hold due to lack of time.

    If you have a community college near you, I would recommend taking a course. First thing to do, is interview all your relatives about what they already know. Write everything down... you never know when a piece of information will suddenly "fit" into your puzzle.

    I do have to warn you that it is very addictive!
    I tried interviewing my oldest living relatives (the ones I know anyway), and get conflicting stories....none tell the same tale. So, as I always knew....I'm a Mutt, I'm a Mutt, I'm a Mutt that way. A little bit of this, a moderate amount of that, and a lot of "Hmmm....I'm not sure what to call it" stuff. Good luck mercyteapot!
  11. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    That's actually one of the reasons I want to do this. I'm wondering what else I haven't been told....

    My cousin (we don't speak, so I can't ask her advice) did a search and went back to the Revolution on my maternal side. Had some interesting finds there too. Apparently we had a 17-year-old who "pined away and died" after her fiance's ship was lost off the coast of NC, for one.

    As a nurse, I have a hard time thinking about the average 17-year-old doing that, but I suppose back then it was possible--or maybe "pining away" was a nice euphemism for suicide?

    Thanks for the heads-up though.
    Fortunately the relative that 'pined away' did it a few hundred years ago. I found out that I was from a noble Catholic family that escaped to Holland. They later came to NYS with a land grant. I wish we still owned atleast part of it. Unfornuately, a lass, nothing remains but some old grave stones. My one claim to fame is that Washington Irving live with my great uncle and based his "Legend of Sleepyhollow" and the school teacher on my great uncle.

    Good luck. You may wish to contact your local Mormons. They have existensive files on hundreds of families. Anmd you do not have to be Mormon to access or ask for their help.

    Grannynurse
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Thanks for the tip, Grannynurse! I'll look at that in the morning.

    I heard some pretty wild stories, but like Renee, the details change with the telling, depending on who's telling it.

    I also heard that we had a fabulously wealthy uncle living in Alaska. Or maybe it was Colorado? Or was he the one who just up and vanished one day?



    Like I said, depended on who was telling it.
  13. by   DusktilDawn
    Last Christmas I received the result of my father's research into our family tree. It was fascinating. He had traced the family origins back to Leipzig in Saxony (northeast German below Prussia) in 1519. Included is how the name originated and how our family name has changed to what it is presently.

    There are at least 14 variations in regards to the spelling of our surname, this is also something you may want to keep in mind. The current spelling of a surname may well have been spelled quite differently hundreds of years ago, the more research you do the more likely you'll find that your name was spelled differently years ago. Bear in mind in regards to immigrants that arrived on Ellis Island, immigration inspectors would sometimes shorten the surname or Americanize it. Also some immigrants could not write their names so officials would write down what they thought they heard. If a name was unpronounceable to these inspectors, the would ask for the name of the village they left. Ellis Island is only one example of this sort of thing that has happened throughout the centuries. Language changes, carelessness and a high degree of illiteracy compounded the number of ways a name might have been spelled.

    Fortunately the relative that 'pined away' did it a few hundred years ago. I found out that I was from a noble Catholic family that escaped to Holland. They later came to NYS with a land grant. I wish we still owned atleast part of it. Unfornuately, a lass, nothing remains but some old grave stones. My one claim to fame is that Washington Irving live with my great uncle and based his "Legend of Sleepyhollow" and the school teacher on my great uncle.
    Very interesting Grannynurse. It's things like this that make researching one's geneology so interesting.
  14. by   prmenrs
    one fun thing to do actually started as an assignment for a history class. talk to an older family member about a significant event in recent times. depending on the person's age, pick something they lived thru and were old enough to remember. examples might be the depression, the pearl harbor attack, jfk's assassination--the kind of event where everyone remembers what they were doing and everything else about that moment.

    i picked the depression. i called my grandmother and interviewed her about her experiences during that time. if/how the depression affected the family, where they were living, what they knew about it, what happened during the following years, extended family members situation.

    tape the conversation!!! that's the most imp't part. i still have the tape of that conversation. my nana died 12 years ago. but i still have her voice and her story (part of my own story). priceless.

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