When it comes to tracing your ancestral lineage through immigrations and time, there are many different resources that you will need in order to do so. These resources are known as ancestry records and can fall into either of two groups. The first group is known as family records while the second is known as organisational records.
In the family records grouping you will have things like stories and tales that you may have heard your grandparents or even great-grandparents talk about. While many of these tales may seem to be like a big fish story, there is always profound information to be sought in them. They can give up locations, dates and ages which will help in your genealogy tracing. Furthermore, the other thing that falls into the family records are things like birth, death and wedding certificates, and while these can also fall into the organisation class, if they are still in your familyís possession they are family records. The final piece of family records which you can learn a lot from is a family bible, these often contain dates of births, weddings, deaths as well as the locations of each happening.
In the organisational records though, you have another two classifications where the first is of course government records and the second being church records. Both can contain extremely useful information and facts although they can be hard to work with sometimes.
Many churches keep records of their members such as births, deaths, weddings as well as baptisms. In some cases you may have to physically go to the head offices of the church, but quite often if you know of a particular year, you can often get them to give you some information over the phone or even to a new friend that you have met online.
Government organisations keep many different records from immigration entry records, to births and even the census. While the birth, death and wedding records may not always be obtainable, the census data can prove quite useful especially with regards to filling in the blanks or getting you past a record you would not be able to get past otherwise. The census data contains information like the head of the household (husband), spouse (wife) as well as any children. Unfortunately it will not give you any dates. Usually there will be an age for the husband and quite possibly the children as well, but the year is usually followed with a question mark because the census examiner only knows the age at the time the census was taken. Often though, the census will also include the birthplace of the male head of household, and it is in this that you can trace your family back simply by knowing a particular year and a location.
Regardless of what records you use, it will not be an easy task as a lot of the information is missing, incomplete or inaccurate possibly because of guess work made by the person taking the information without physically asking for the answers. Also, the older the record the more chance that information can be lost, especially in the cases of immigration prior to the standardisation of reporting in the mid to late 1800ís.
Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 20/06/2008