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To know or not to know, that is the question. Thanks to science, we can now find out if we have any unknown ancestors or relatives with ancestry research. Unsurprisingly, many people are intrigued, wanting to find out if there are any secrets possibly hiding in their family history. But are you ready to face the truth of the answer, whatever it maybe? Before embarking on the journey of discovering your genealogy, here are 5 crucial factors to consider before you jump into the rabbit hole.
Before you begin your research…
Gathering information for your family’s ancestral history is no easy feat. It involves riffling through a lot of old documents and photos, researching old library records, online genealogy websites, and also interviewing relatives. You will essentially be a detective, putting together the puzzle that is your family history. But why are you doing this? What are you trying to achieve? This brings us to the first point to consider before you begin.
- What is your end goal?
Just like embarking on any other journey, think about why you are going through this possible painstaking journey of evidence gathering. In fact, when it comes to genealogy, there are four Levels of Genealogy Interest that ranges from ‘Person who actively conducts ancestral research’ on the inside of the spectrum, to a ‘Person who has a general interest in ancestors’ towards the outside of the spectrum.
The majority of the general population lies on the outer part of the spectrum as interestingly, genealogy is becoming so popular that it is becoming as popular as gardening as a favorite pastime. However, the experts suggest that starting by keeping it simple is the best way to begin.
- What do you already know?
Before you become full-on Sherlock Holmes and start digging up evidence, it is crucial to first jot down the information that you already know. Write down all the information you can think of, off the top of your head.
Once you have nothing else to write, then it’s time to turn to your family starting from the closer ones to the grandaunt you haven’t seen in ages. Remember to bring flowers! Your long lost grandaunt might even have the answers for you to complete your Pedigree Chart, thus giving you a base structure of your bloodline.
- What if I find something unexpected?
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Finding something unexpected could be a good thing or bad. Whatever it is, you are bound to dig up something you didn’t already know, are you ready to face it? While you might’ve heard stories about people finding out they are related to royalty, you might also dig up the secrets of relatives with dark and not so royal secrets.
Nevertheless, you should be prepared to face it and remember that your ancestor’s experiences in the past should not impact your own current life.
- What if I don’t find anything?
During your research, you might encounter promising stories that your great, great, great uncle was a war hero. Or in celebrity Sarah Jessica Parker’s case, she found out that her tenth great grandmother escaped death during the Salem witch trials. However, for most people, you should also be prepared to accept the fact that your ancestors led a more mundane lifestyle.
- What tools and resources can I use?
Ancestry.com as the name suggests is the most comprehensive tool to store your findings. Of course, there are also other tools on the internet that you can use for free. Generally, this software can help you organize your notes, and you can also generate different charts. You might even bump into relatives who are also researching the same family tree.
Embarking on this journey to explore your genealogy is no easy feat, but it can get quite exciting and addictive. As long as you are prepared for whatever the outcome, the adventures you encounter along the journey and the relatives you meet is what makes the whole thing worthwhile. Once you’ve considered all these 5 factors, you are ready to start digging!