Genealogy
Overview
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 and pedigrees
Pedigree chart
A pedigree chart is a diagram that shows the occurrence and appearance or phenotypes of a particular gene or organism and its ancestors from one generation to the next, most commonly humans, show dogs, and race horses....

 of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.

The pursuit of family history tends to be shaped by several motivations, including the desire to carve out a place for one's family in the larger historical picture, a sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations, and a sense of self-satisfaction in accurate storytelling.

Some scholars differentiate between genealogy and family history
Family history
Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

, limiting genealogy to an account of kinship, while using "family history" to denote the provision of additional details about lives and historical context.

Hobbyist genealogists typically pursue their own ancestry and that of their spouses.
Encyclopedia
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 and pedigrees
Pedigree chart
A pedigree chart is a diagram that shows the occurrence and appearance or phenotypes of a particular gene or organism and its ancestors from one generation to the next, most commonly humans, show dogs, and race horses....

 of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.

The pursuit of family history tends to be shaped by several motivations, including the desire to carve out a place for one's family in the larger historical picture, a sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations, and a sense of self-satisfaction in accurate storytelling.

Some scholars differentiate between genealogy and family history
Family history
Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

, limiting genealogy to an account of kinship, while using "family history" to denote the provision of additional details about lives and historical context.

Overview

Hobbyist genealogists typically pursue their own ancestry and that of their spouses. Professional genealogists may also conduct research for others, publish books on genealogical methods, teach, or work for companies that provide software or online databases. Both try to understand not just where and when people lived, but also their lifestyles, biographies, and motivations. This often requires—or leads to—knowledge of antiquated laws, old political boundaries, migration trends, and historical socioeconomic or religious conditions.

Genealogists sometimes specialize in a particular group, e.g. a Scottish clan
Scottish clan
Scottish clans , give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry and Coat of Arms...

; a particular surname
Surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

, such as in a one-name study
One-name study
A one-name study is a project researching a specific surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree or descendancy...

; a small community, e.g. a single village or parish, such as in a one-place study
One-place study
One-place studies are a branch of family history with a focus on the entire population of a single village or community, not just a single, geographically dispersed family line.-Introduction:...

; or a particular, often famous, person. Bloodlines of Salem
Bloodlines of Salem
Bloodlines of Salem is a Salt Lake City-based family-history group in the United States of America. Its purpose was described as providing a "place where visitors share ideas and information about the Salem witch trials of 1692, its participants and their families. Many visitors have researched and...

 is an example of a specialized family-history group. It welcomes members who are able to prove descent from a participant of the Salem Witch Trials or who choose simply to support the group.

Genealogists and family historians often join family history societies
Family History Society
A family history society is a society, often charitable or not-for-profit, that allows member genealogists and family historians to profit from shared knowledge. Large societies often own libraries, sponsor research seminars and foreign trips, and publish journals...

, where novices can learn from more experienced researchers. Such societies may also index records to make them more accessible, and engage in advocacy and other efforts to preserve public records and cemeteries.

Historical background

Historically, in Western societies the focus of genealogy was on the kinship and descent of rulers and nobles, often arguing or demonstrating the legitimacy of claims to wealth and power. The term often overlapped with heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

, in which the ancestry of royalty was reflected in their coats of arms. Modern scholars consider many claimed noble ancestries to be fabrications, such as the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 chronicles that traced the ancestry of several English kings to the god Woden
Woden
Woden or Wodan is a major deity of Anglo-Saxon and Continental Germanic polytheism. Together with his Norse counterpart Odin, Woden represents a development of the Proto-Germanic god *Wōdanaz....

.

Genealogical research in the United States was first systematized in the early 19th century, especially by John Farmer
John Farmer (author)
John Farmer was an American historian and genealogist, born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He was the son of John Farmer and Lydia Richardson.He is buried at Concord, New Hampshire....

 (1789–1838). Before Farmer's efforts, tracing one's genealogy was seen as an attempt by colonists to secure a measure of social standing within the British Empire, an aim that was counter to the new republic's egalitarian, future-oriented ethos. As Fourth of July celebrations commemorating the Founding Fathers and the heroes of the Revolutionary War became increasingly popular, however, the pursuit of 'antiquarianism,' which focused on local history, became acceptable as a way to honor the achievements of early Americans. Farmer capitalized on the acceptability of antiquarianism to frame genealogy within the early republic's ideological framework of pride in one's American ancestors. He corresponded with other antiquarians in New England, where antiquarianism and genealogy were well established, and became a coordinator, booster, and contributor to the growing movement. In the 1820s, he and fellow antiquarians began to produce genealogical and antiquarian tracts in earnest, slowly gaining a devoted audience among the American people. Though Farmer died in 1839, his efforts led to the creation of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
New England Historic Genealogical Society
The New England Historic Genealogical Society is the oldest and largest genealogical society in the United States, founded in 1845. A charitable, nonprofit educational institution, NEHGS is located at 99-101 Newbury Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, in an eight-story archive and research center....

 (NEHGS), one of New England's oldest and most prominent organizations dedicated to the preservation of public records. NEHGS publishes the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

The Genealogical Society of Utah
Genealogical Society of Utah
The Genealogical Society of Utah , established in 1894, does business as FamilySearch International, which is the genealogical arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

, founded in 1894, later became the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), commonly called the Mormon Church. The department's research facility, the Family History Library, which has developed the most extensive genealogical record-gathering program in the world, was established to assist in tracing family lineages for special religious ceremonies that Mormons believe will seal family units together for eternity. Mormons believe that this fulfilled a biblical prophecy stating that the prophet Elijah would return to 'turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.'

In modern times, genealogy became more widespread, with commoners as well as nobility researching and maintaining their family trees. Genealogy received a boost in the late 1970s with the television broadcast of Roots: The Saga of an American Family
Roots: The Saga of an American Family
Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S....

, Alex Haley
Alex Haley
Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was an African-American writer. He is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family and the coauthor of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.-Early life:...

's account of his family line. With the advent of the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, the number of resources readily accessible by genealogists has vastly increased, resulting in an explosion of interest in the topic. According to some sources, genealogy is one of the most popular topics on the Internet. The Internet has become not only a major source of data for genealogists, but also of education and communication.

Genealogical research process

Genealogical research is a complex process that uses historical records and sometimes genetic analysis to demonstrate kinship. Reliable conclusions are based on the quality of sources, ideally original records, the information within those sources, ideally primary or firsthand information, and the evidence that can be drawn, directly or indirectly, from that information. In many instances, genealogists must skillfully assemble indirect or circumstantial evidence
Circumstantial evidence
Circumstantial evidence is evidence in which an inference is required to connect it to a conclusion of fact, like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime...

 to build a case for identity and kinship. All evidence and conclusions, together with the documentation that supports them, is then assembled to create a cohesive genealogy or family history
Family history
Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

.

Genealogists begin their research by collecting family documents and stories. This creates a foundation for documentary research, which involves examining and evaluating historical records for evidence about ancestors and other relatives, their kinship ties, and the events that occurred in their lives. As a rule, genealogists begin with the present and work backward in time. Historical, social, and family context is essential to achieving correct identification of individuals and relationships. Source citation is also important when conducting genealogical research. To keep track of collected material, family group sheets and pedigree chart
Pedigree chart
A pedigree chart is a diagram that shows the occurrence and appearance or phenotypes of a particular gene or organism and its ancestors from one generation to the next, most commonly humans, show dogs, and race horses....

s are used. Formerly handwritten, these can now be generated by genealogical software.

Genetic analysis

Because a person's DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 contains information that has been passed down relatively unchanged from early ancestors, analysis of DNA
Genetic fingerprinting
DNA profiling is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles. DNA profiles are encrypted sets of numbers that reflect a person's DNA makeup, which can also be used as the person's identifier...

 is sometimes used for genealogical research. Three DNA types are of particular interest: mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 that we all possess and that is passed down with only minor mutations through the matrilineal (direct female) line; the Y-chromosome, present only in males, which is passed down with only minor mutations through the patrilineal (direct male) line; and the Autosomal DNA, which is found in the 22 non-gender specific chromosomes (autosomes) inherited from both parents, which can uncover relatives from any branch of the family.

A genealogical DNA test
Genealogical DNA test
A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a person's DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. The test results are not meant to have any informative medical value and do not determine specific genetic diseases or disorders ; they are intended only to give genealogical...

 allows two individuals to find the probability that they are, or are not, related within an estimated number of generations. Individual genetic test results
Genealogical DNA test
A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a person's DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. The test results are not meant to have any informative medical value and do not determine specific genetic diseases or disorders ; they are intended only to give genealogical...

 are collected in databases to match people descended from a relatively recent common ancestor. See, for example, the Molecular Genealogy Research Project. These tests are limited to either the patrilineal or the matrilineal line.

Data sharing among researchers

Most genealogy software
Genealogy software
Genealogy software is computer software used to record, organize, and publish genealogical data. At a minimum, genealogy software collects the date and place of an individual's birth, marriage, and death, and stores the relationships of individuals to their parents, spouses, and children...

 programs can export information about persons and their relationships in a standardized format called "GEDCOM
GEDCOM
GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication, is a proprietary and open de facto specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software...

" In that format it can be shared with other genealogists, added to online databases, or converted into family web sites. Social networking service (SNS) websites allow genealogists to share data and build their family trees online. Members can upload their family trees and contact other family historians to fill in gaps in their research.

Volunteerism

Volunteer efforts figure prominently in genealogy. These range from the extremely informal to the highly organized.

On the informal side are the many popular and useful message boards
Internet forum
An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived...

 such as Rootschat
Rootschat
Rootschat is a free online genealogy forum primarily concentrating on local and family history research in the United Kingdom. It was launched by Welsh couple Trystan Davies and Sarah Mackay in December 2003. 18 months after its launch its membership was 16,000 and it was gaining 140 new members...

 and mailing lists
Electronic mailing list
An electronic mailing list is a special usage of email that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. It is similar to a traditional mailing list — a list of names and addresses — as might be kept by an organization for sending publications to...

 on particular surnames, regions, and other topics. These forums can be used to try to find relatives, request record lookups, obtain research advice, and much more.

Many genealogists participate in loosely organized projects, both online and off. These collaborations take numerous forms. Some projects prepare name indexes for records, such as probate
Probate
Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under the valid will. A probate court decides the validity of a testator's will...

 cases, and publish the indexes, either off- or online. These indexes can be used as finding aid
Finding aid
A finding aid is a document containing detailed information about a specific collection of papers or records within an archive. They are used by researchers to determine whether information within a collection is relevant to their research...

s to locate original records. Other projects transcribe or abstract records. Offering record lookups for particular geographic areas is another common service. Volunteers, such as those involved in Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is a web-based genealogical research co-op that functions solely by the services of volunteers. Volunteers from any part of the globe may offer services to any requester, such as research of birth and death records, public records, obituaries, marriage records...

 (RAOGK), do record lookups or take photos in their home areas for researchers who are unable to travel.

Those looking for a structured volunteer environment can join one of thousands of genealogical societies worldwide. Most societies have a unique area of focus, such as a particular surname, ethnicity, geographic area, or descendancy from participants in a given historical event. Genealogical societies are almost exclusively staffed by volunteers and may offer a broad range of services, including maintaining libraries for members' use, publishing newsletters, providing research assistance to the public, offering classes or seminars, and organizing record preservation or transcription projects.

Records in genealogical research

Genealogists use a wide variety of records in their research. To effectively conduct genealogical research, it is important to understand how the records were created, what information is included in them, and how and where to access them.

Records that are used in genealogy research include:
  • Vital records
    • Birth records
      Birth certificate
      A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the circumstances of the birth or to a certified copy of or representation of the ensuing registration of that birth...

    • Death records
      Death certificate
      The phrase death certificate can describe either a document issued by a medical practitioner certifying the deceased state of a person or popularly to a document issued by a person such as a registrar of vital statistics that declares the date, location and cause of a person's death as later...

    • Marriage
      Marriage license
      A marriage license is a document issued, either by a church or state authority, authorizing a couple to marry. The procedure for obtaining a license varies between countries and has changed over time...

       and divorce
      Divorce
      Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

       records
  • Adoption
    Adoption
    Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

     records
  • Biographies and biographical profiles (e.g. Who's Who
    Marquis Who's Who
    Marquis Who's Who, a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc., is the American publisher of a number of directories containing short biographies...

    )
  • Census
    Census
    A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

     records
  • Church records
    • Baptism
      Baptism
      In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

       or christening
      Infant baptism
      Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child." The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or...

    • Confirmation
    • Bar or bat mitzvah
    • Marriage
      Marriage
      Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

    • Funeral
      Funeral
      A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

       or death
    • Membership
  • City directories and telephone directories
    Telephone directory
    A telephone directory is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory...

  • Coroner
    Coroner
    A coroner is a government official who* Investigates human deaths* Determines cause of death* Issues death certificates* Maintains death records* Responds to deaths in mass disasters* Identifies unknown dead* Other functions depending on local laws...

    's reports
  • Court records
    • Criminal record
      Criminal record
      A criminal record is a record of a person's criminal history, generally used by potential employers, lenders etc. to assess his or her trustworthiness. The information included in a criminal record varies between countries and even between jurisdictions within a country...

      s
    • Civil records
  • Diaries
    Diary
    A diary is a record with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer's direct experience. Someone...

    , personal letters and family Bible
    Bible
    The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

    s
  • Emigration
    Emigration
    Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

    , immigration
    Immigration
    Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

     and naturalization
    Naturalization
    Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

     records
  • Hereditary & lineage organization records, e.g. Daughters of the American Revolution
    Daughters of the American Revolution
    The Daughters of the American Revolution is a lineage-based membership organization for women who are descended from a person involved in United States' independence....

     records
  • Land
    Real property
    In English Common Law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is any subset of land that has been legally defined and the improvements to it made by human efforts: any buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, roads, various property rights, and so forth...

     and property records, deed
    Deed
    A deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, or affirms or confirms something which passes, an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions sealed...

    s
  • Medical
    Health care
    Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

     records
  • Military and conscription
    Conscription
    Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

     records
  • Newspaper
    Newspaper
    A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

     articles
  • Obituaries
    Obituary
    An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are written only for people considered significant...

  • Occupational
    Profession
    A profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain....

     records
  • Oral histories
  • Passport
    Passport
    A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

    s
  • Photograph
    Photograph
    A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of...

    s
  • Poorhouse
    Poorhouse
    A poorhouse or workhouse was a government-run facility in the past for the support and housing of dependent or needy persons, typically run by a local government entity such as a county or municipality....

    , workhouse
    Workhouse
    In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment...

    , almshouse
    Almshouse
    Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people to live in a particular community...

    , and asylum records
  • School
    School
    A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

     and alumni association
    Alumni association
    An alumni association is an association of graduates or, more broadly, of former students. In the United Kingdom and the United States, alumni of universities, colleges, schools , fraternities, and sororities often form groups with alumni from the same organisation...

     records
  • Ship
    Passenger ship
    A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is...

     passenger lists
  • Social Security
    Social Security (United States)
    In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

     (within the US) and pension
    Pension
    In general, a pension is an arrangement to provide people with an income when they are no longer earning a regular income from employment. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is paid in regular installments, while the latter is paid in one lump sum.The terms retirement...

     records
  • Tax
    Tax
    To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

     records
  • Tombstones, cemetery
    Cemetery
    A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

     records, and funeral home
    Funeral home
    A funeral home, funeral parlor or mortuary, is a business that provides burial and funeral services for the deceased and their families. These services may include aprepared wake and funeral, and the provision of a chapel for the funeral....

     records
  • Voter registration records
  • Wills
    Will (law)
    A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

     and probate
    Probate
    Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under the valid will. A probate court decides the validity of a testator's will...

     records


To keep track of their citizens, governments began keeping records
Public records
Public records are documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential. For example, in California, when a couple fills out a marriage license application, they have the option of checking the box as to whether the marriage is "confidential" or "Public"...

 of persons who were neither royalty
Royal family
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

 nor nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. In England and Germany, for example, such record keeping started with parish registers in the 16th century. As more of the population was recorded, there were sufficient records to follow a family. Major life events, such as births, marriages, and deaths, were often documented with a license, permit, or report. Genealogists locate these records in local, regional or national offices or archive
Archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

s and extract information about family relationships and recreate timelines
Chronology
Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time, such as the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".Chronology is part of periodization...

 of persons' lives.

In China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and other Asian countries, genealogy book
Genealogy book
A genealogy book or register is used in Asia, and Europe to record the family history of ancestors.-Chinese genealogical books:It is the Chinese tradition to record family members in a book, including every male born in the family, who they are married to, etc...

s are used to record the names, occupations, and other information about family members, with some books dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. In the eastern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n state of Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, there is a written tradition of genealogical records among Maithil Brahmins and Karna Kayasthas called "Panjis
Panjis
Panjis or Panji Prabandh are extensive genealogical records maintained among Maithil Brahmins, Karna Kayasthas of Mithila region of north Bihar, India, similat to the Hindu genealogy registers at Haridwar.-History:...

", dating to the 12th century CE. Even today these records are consulted prior to marriages.

In Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, genealogical records were recorded by professional families of senchaidh (historians) until as late as the mid-17th century, when Gaelic
Gaelic Ireland
Gaelic Ireland is the name given to the period when a Gaelic political order existed in Ireland. The order continued to exist after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans until about 1607 AD...

 civilization died out. Perhaps the most outstanding example of this genre is Leabhar na nGenealach
Leabhar na nGenealach
Leabhar na nGenealach is a massive genealogical collection written mainly in the years 1649 to 1650, at the college-house of St. Nicholas's church, Galway, by Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh. He continued to add material until at least 1666, five years before he was murdered in 1671...

/The Great Book of Irish Genealogies, by Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh (d. 1671), published in 2004.

FamilySearch collections

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has engaged in large-scale microfilming of records of genealogical value. Their Family History Library
Family History Library
The Family History Library is a genealogical research facility in downtown Salt Lake City. The library is open to the public free of charge and is operated by FamilySearch, the genealogical arm of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints .-History:The origins of the Family History...

 in Salt Lake City, Utah, houses over 2 million microfiche and microfilms of genealogically relevant material, which are also available for on-site research at over 4500 Family History Centers worldwide.

The LDS Church has also compiled indexes of the submissions of its members, resulting in several large databases: the International Genealogical Index
International Genealogical Index
The International Genealogical Index is a database of genealogical records, compiled from several sources, and maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

, or IGI, which includes both data extracted from filmed civil and ecclesiastic records from various worldwide locales and member-submitted information; the Ancestral File, or AF, which includes the contributions of church members; and the Pedigree Resource File, or PRF, compiled from member and non-member submissions. The IGI contains indexes to millions of records of individuals who lived between 1500 and 1900, primarily in the United States, Canada and Europe. Although independent of the IGI, the AF and PRF often contain duplications of IGI records. All three of these indexes are available free on their website, FamilySearch
FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a genealogy organization established and run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch consists of a collection of records, resources, and services designed to help people learn more about their family...

. FamilySearch also includes an 1880 United States federal census index, an 1881 British census index, an 1881 Canadian census index, and the U.S. Social Security Death Index, as well as research guides and genealogical word lists.

Types of genealogical information

Genealogists who seek to reconstruct the lives of each ancestor consider all historical information to be "genealogical" information. Traditionally, the basic information needed to ensure correct identification of each person are place names, occupations, family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

s, first names, and dates. However, modern genealogists greatly expand this list, recognizing the need to place this information in its historical context in order to properly evaluate genealogical evidence and distinguish between same-name individuals. A great deal of information is available for British ancestry with growing resources for other ethnic groups.

Family names

Family names are simultaneously one of the most important pieces of genealogical information, and a source of significant confusion for researchers.

In many cultures, the name of a person refers to the family to which he or she belongs. This is called the family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

, surname, or last name. Patronymic
Patronymic
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

s are names that identify an individual based on the father's name. For example, Marga Olafsdottir is Marga, daughter of Olaf, and Olaf Thorsson is Olaf, son of Thor. Many cultures used patronymics before surnames were adopted or came into use. The Dutch in New York, for example, used the patronymic system of names until 1687 when the advent of English rule mandated surname usage. In Iceland, patronymics are used by a majority of the population. In Denmark and Norway patronymics and farm names were generally in use through the 19th century and beyond, though surnames began to come into fashion toward the end of the 19th century in some parts of the country. Not until 1856 in Denmark and 1923 in Norway were there laws requiring surnames.

The transmission of names across generations, marriages and other relationships, and immigration may cause difficulty in genealogical research. For instance, women in many cultures have routinely used their spouse's surnames. When a woman remarried, she may have changed her name and the names of her children; only her name; or changed no names. Her birth name (maiden name) may be reflected in her children's middle names; her own middle name; or dropped entirely. Children may sometimes assume stepparent, foster parent, or adoptive parent names. Because official records may reflect many kinds of surname change, without explaining the underlying reason for the change, the correct identification of a person recorded identified with more than one name is challenging. Immigrants often Americanized their names.

Surname data may be found in trade directories, census returns, birth, death, and marriage records.

Given names

Genealogical data regarding given name
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

s (first names) is subject to many of the same problems as are family names and place names. Additionally, the use of nicknames is very common. For example Beth, Lizzie or Betty are all common for Elizabeth, and Jack, John and Jonathan may be interchanged.

Middle names provide additional information. Middle names may be inherited, follow naming customs, or be treated as part of the family name. For instance, in some Latin cultures, both the mother's family name and the father's family name are used by the children.

Historically, naming traditions existed in some places and cultures. Even in areas that tended to use naming conventions, however, they were by no means universal. Families may have used them some of the time, among some of their children, or not at all. A pattern might also be broken to name a newborn after a recently deceased sibling, aunt or uncle.

An example of a naming tradition from England, Scotland and Ireland:
Another example is in some areas of Germany, where siblings were given the same first name, often of a favourite saint or local nobility, but different second names by which they were known (Rufname). If a child died, the next child of the same gender that was born may have been given the same name. It is not uncommon that a list of a particular couple's children will show one or two names repeated.

Personal names have periods of popularity, so it is not uncommon to find many similarly named people in a generation, and even similarly named families; e.g., "William and Mary and their children David, Mary, and John".

Many names may be identified strongly with a particular gender; e.g., William for boys, and Mary for girls. Others may be ambiguous, e.g., Lee, or have only slightly variant spellings based on gender, e.g., Frances (usually female) and Francis (usually male).

Place names

While the locations of ancestors' residences and life events are core elements of the genealogist's quest, they can often be confusing. Place names may be subject to variant spellings by partially literate scribes. Locations may have identical or very similar names. For example, the village name Brockton
Brockton
Brockton may refer to:* Brockton, Massachusetts, USA** Brockton * Brockton, Montana, USA* Brockton, Ontario, Canada* Brockton, Shropshire, England - five places* Brockton, Staffordshire, England* Brockton Station, Antarctica...

 occurs six times in the border area between the English counties of Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

 and Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

. Shifts in political borders must also be understood. Parish, county and national borders have frequently been modified. Old records may contain references to farms and villages that have ceased to exist. When working with older records from Poland, where borders and place names have changed frequently in past centuries, a source with maps and sample records such as A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents
A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents
A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents is a book written by genealogical researcher Judith R. Frazin as a tool to help researchers unlock the meaning of 19th-century Polish language civil records...

can be invaluable.

Available sources may include vital records (civil or church registration), censuses, and tax assessments. Oral tradition is also an important source, although it must be used with caution. When no source information is available for a location, circumstantial evidence may provide a probable answer based on a person's or a family's place of residence at the time of the event. Cadastral maps are historic map works which show the ownership of a home, building or land at a particular period of time.

Maps and gazetteers are important sources for understanding the places researched. They show the relationship of an area to neighboring communities and may be of help in understanding migration patterns. Family tree mapping
Family tree mapping
Family tree mapping is the process of geocoding places in family tree files to produce geospatial data suitable for viewing with a virtual globe or 2D mapping program.-Overview:...

 using online mapping tools such as Google Earth
Google Earth
Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency funded company acquired by Google in 2004 . It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite...

 (particularly when used with Historical Map overlays such as those from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is one of the world's largest private map collections. It has some 150,000 maps and cartographic items...

) assist in the process of understanding the significance of geographical locations.

Dates

It is wise to exercise extreme caution with dates. Dates are more difficult to recall years after an event, and are more easily mistranscribed than other types of genealogical data. Therefore, one should determine whether the date was recorded at the time of the event or at a later date. Dates of birth in vital records or civil registrations and in church records at baptism are generally accurate because they were usually recorded near the time of the event. Family Bibles are often a source for dates, but can be written from memory long after the event. When the same ink and handwriting is used for all entries, the dates were probably written at the same time and therefore will be less reliable since the earlier dates were probably recorded well after the event. The publication date of the Bible also provides a clue about when the dates were recorded since they could not have been recorded at any earlier date.

People sometimes reduce their age on marriage, and those under "full age" may increase their age in order to marry or to join the armed forces. Census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 returns are notoriously unreliable for ages or for assuming an approximate death date. Ages over 15 in the 1841 census in the UK are rounded down to the next lower multiple of five years.

Although baptismal dates are often used to approximate birth dates, some families waited years before baptizing children, and adult baptisms are the norm in some religions. Both birth and marriage dates may have been adjusted to cover for pre-wedding pregnancies.

Calendar changes must also be considered. In 1752, England and her American colonies changed from the Julian
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

 to the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

. In the same year, the date the new year began was changed. Prior to 1752 it was 25 March; this was changed to 1 January. Many other European countries had already made the calendar changes before England had, sometimes centuries earlier. By 1751 there was an 11 day discrepancy between the date in England and the date in other European countries.

For further detail on the changes involved in moving from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, see: Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

.

The French Republican Calendar
French Republican Calendar
The French Republican Calendar or French Revolutionary Calendar was a calendar created and implemented during the French Revolution, and used by the French government for about 12 years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days by the Paris Commune in 1871...

 or French Revolutionary Calendar was a calendar proposed during the French Revolution, and used by the French government for about 12 years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days in 1871 in Paris. Dates in official records at this time use the revolutionary calendar and need "translating" into the Gregorian calendar for calculating ages etc. There are various websites which do this.

Occupations

Occupational information may be important to understanding an ancestor’s life and for distinguishing two people with the same name. A person’s occupation may have been related to his or her social status, political interest, and migration pattern. Since skilled trades are often passed from father to son, occupation may also be indirect evidence of a family relationship.

It is important to remember that a person may change occupations, and that titles change over time as well. Some workers no longer fit for their primary trade often took less prestigious jobs later in life, while others moved upwards in prestige. Many unskilled ancestors had a variety of jobs depending on the season and local trade requirements. Census returns may contain some embellishment; e.g., from labourer to mason
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

, or from journeyman
Journeyman
A journeyman is someone who completed an apprenticeship and was fully educated in a trade or craft, but not yet a master. To become a master, a journeyman had to submit a master work piece to a guild for evaluation and be admitted to the guild as a master....

 to master craftsman
Master craftsman
A master craftsman or master tradesman was a member of a guild. In the European guild system, only masters were allowed to be members of the guild....

. Names for old or unfamiliar local occupations may cause confusion if poorly legible. For example, an ostler (a keeper of horses) and a hostler (an innkeeper) could easily be confused for one another. Likewise, descriptions of such occupations may also be problematic. The perplexing description "ironer of rabbit burrows" may turn out to describe an ironer (profession) in the Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 district named Rabbit Burrows. Several trades have regionally preferred terms. For example, "shoemaker" and "cordwainer" have the same meaning. Finally, many apparently obscure jobs are part of a larger trade community, such as watchmaking, framework knitting
Stocking frame
A stocking frame was a mechanical knitting machine used in the textiles industry. It was invented by William Lee of Calverton near Nottingham in 1589...

 or gunmaking.

Occupational data may be reported in occupational licenses, tax assessments, membership records of professional organizations, trade directories, census returns, and vital records (civil registration). Occupational dictionaries are available to explain many obscure and archaic trades.

Reliability of sources

Information found in historical or genealogical sources can be unreliable and it is good practice to evaluate all sources with a critical eye. Factors influencing the reliability of genealogical information include: the knowledge of the informant (or writer); the bias and mental state of the informant (or writer); the passage of time and the potential for copying and compiling errors.

The quality of census data has been of special interest to historians, who have investigated reliability issues.

Knowledge of the informant

The informant is the individual who provided the recorded information. Genealogists must carefully consider who provided the information and what he or she knew. In many cases the informant is identified in the record itself. For example, a death certificate usually has two informants: a physician who provides information about the time and cause of death and a family member who provides the birth date, names of parents, etc.

When the informant is not identified, one can sometimes deduce information about the identity of the person by careful examination of the source. One should first consider who was alive (and nearby) when the record was created. When the informant is also the person recording the information, the handwriting can be compared to other handwriting samples.

When a source does not provide clues about the informant, genealogists should treat the source with caution. These sources can be useful if they can be compared with independent sources. For example, a census record by itself cannot be given much weight because the informant is unknown. However, when censuses for several years concur on a piece of information that would not likely be guessed by a neighbor, it is likely that the information in these censuses was provided by a family member or other informed person. On the other hand, information in a single census cannot be confirmed by information in an undocumented compiled genealogy since the genealogy may have used the census record as its source and might therefore be dependent on the same misinformed individual.

Motivation of the informant

Even individuals who had knowledge of the fact, sometimes intentionally or unintentionally provided false or misleading information. A person may have lied in order to obtain a government benefit (such as a military pension), avoid taxation, or cover up an embarrassing situation (such as the existence of a non-marital child). A person with a distressed state of mind may not be able to accurately recall information. Many genealogical records were recorded at the time of a loved one's death, and so genealogists should consider the effect that grief may have had on the informant of these records.

The effect of time

The passage of time often affects a person's ability to recall information. Therefore, as a general rule, data recorded soon after the event is usually more reliable than data recorded many years later. However, some types of data are more difficult to recall after many years than others. One type especially prone to recollection errors is dates. Also the ability to recall is affected by the significance that the event had to the individual. These values may have been affected by cultural or individual preferences.

Copying and compiling errors

Genealogists must consider the effects that copying and compiling errors may have had on the information in a source. For this reason, sources are generally categorized in two categories: original and derivative. An original source is one that is not based on another source. A derivative source is information taken from another source. This distinction is important because each time a source is copied, information about the record may be lost and errors may creep in from the copyist misreading, mistyping, or miswriting the information. Genealogists should consider the number of times information has been copied and the types of derivation a piece of information has undergone. The types of derivatives include: photocopies, transcriptions, abstracts, translations, extractions, and compilations.

In addition to copying errors, compiled sources (such as published genealogies and online pedigree databases) are susceptible to misidentification errors and incorrect conclusions based on circumstantial evidence. Identity errors usually occur when two or more individuals are assumed to be the same person. Circumstantial or indirect is evidence that does not explicitly answer a genealogical question, but either may be used with other sources to answer the question, suggest a probable answer, or eliminate certain possibilities. Compilers sometimes draw hasty conclusions from circumstantial evidence without sufficiently examining all available sources, without properly understanding the evidence, and without appropriately indicating the level of uncertainty.

Software


Genealogy software
Genealogy software
Genealogy software is computer software used to record, organize, and publish genealogical data. At a minimum, genealogy software collects the date and place of an individual's birth, marriage, and death, and stores the relationships of individuals to their parents, spouses, and children...

 is computer software
Computer software
Computer software, or just software, is a collection of computer programs and related data that provide the instructions for telling a computer what to do and how to do it....

 used to collect, store, sort, and display genealogical data. At a minimum, genealogy software accommodates basic information about individuals, including births, marriages, and deaths. Many programs allow for additional biographical information, including occupation, residence, and notes, and most also offer a method for keeping track of the sources for each piece of evidence.

Most programs can generate basic kinship charts and reports, allow for the import of digital photographs and the export of data in the GEDCOM
GEDCOM
GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication, is a proprietary and open de facto specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software...

 format so that data can be shared with those using other genealogy software. More advanced features include the ability to restrict the information that is shared, usually by removing information about living people out of privacy
Privacy
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively...

 concerns; the import of sound files; the generation of family history books, web pages and other publications; the ability to handle same sex marriages and children born out of wedlock; searching the Internet for data; and the provision of research guidance.

Programs may be geared toward a specific religion, with fields relevant to that religion, or to specific nationalities or ethnic groups, with source types relevant for those groups.

Confucius

The family tree of Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

 has been maintained for over 2,500 years, and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest extant family tree. The fifth edition of the Confucius Genealogy was printed in 2009 by the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee
Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee
The Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee is responsible for collecting, collating and publishing the 2,500 years worth of genealogical data associated with Confucius. The fifth edition of the Confucius genealogy was printed in September 2009...

 (CGCC).

See also

  • Ancestors (TV Series)
    Ancestors (TV series)
    Ancestors was a public television mini-series on family history, . It was produced by KBYU-TV in conjunction with the Family History Library and PBS...

  • Association of Professional Genealogists
    Association of Professional Genealogists
    The Association of Professional Genealogists is an organization that promotes professional and business ethics in the field of genealogical research. Organized in 1979, its offices are in Colorado ....

  • Cluster genealogy
    Cluster genealogy
    Cluster genealogy is a research technique employed by genealogists to learn more about an ancestor by examining records left by the ancestor's cluster. A person's cluster consists of the extended family, friends, neighbors, and other associates such as business partners...

  • Comparison of genealogy software
    Comparison of genealogy software
    This article compares several selected client-based genealogy programs. Web-based genealogy software is not included.-General information:-Operating system support:-Features:-Languages:Available user interface languages...

  • Descent from antiquity
    Descent from antiquity
    Descent from Antiquity is the project of establishing a well-researched, generation-by-generation descent of living persons from people living in antiquity. It is an ultimate challenge in prosopography and genealogy....

  • Family history
    Family history
    Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

  • Family tree
    Family tree
    A family tree, or pedigree chart, is a chart representing family relationships in a conventional tree structure. The more detailed family trees used in medicine, genealogy, and social work are known as genograms.-Family tree representations:...

  • Genealogical numbering systems
    Genealogical numbering systems
    Several genealogical numbering systems have been widely adopted for presenting family trees and pedigree charts in text format. Among the most popular numbering systems are: Ahnentafel , and the Register, NGSQ, Henry, d'Aboville, Meurgey de Tupigny, and de Villiers/Pama Systems...

  • Genealogy books
  • Genealogy of the Bible
    Genealogy of the Bible
    There are various genealogies described in the Bible.-Genesis:The book of Genesis records the descendants of Adam and Eve. The enumerated genealogy in chapters 4, 5 and 11 reports the lineal male descent to Abraham, including the age at which each patriarch fathered his named son and the number of...

  • Genealogy of the Spanish Royal Family
    Genealogy of the Spanish Royal Family
    This is a presentation of individuals and dynasties from which the current monarch of the Kingdom of Spain and his heirs descend. This uses accepted genealogical descents.-House of Bourbon and the Capetian Dynasty:...

  • Genealogy software
    Genealogy software
    Genealogy software is computer software used to record, organize, and publish genealogical data. At a minimum, genealogy software collects the date and place of an individual's birth, marriage, and death, and stores the relationships of individuals to their parents, spouses, and children...

  • Genealogy tourism
    Genealogy tourism
    Genealogy Tourism is a segment of the tourism market consisting of tourists who have ancestral connections to their holiday destination. These genealogy tourists travel to the land of their ancestors to reconnect with their past and "walk in the footsteps of their forefathers".Genealogy tourism is...

  • List of genealogy portals
  • List of general genealogy databases
  • List of hereditary & lineage organizations
  • List of Mormon family organizations
  • One-name study
    One-name study
    A one-name study is a project researching a specific surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree or descendancy...

  • Who Do You Think You Are? (TV series)

Further reading

  • Adams, Suzanne Russo. Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2008.
  • Ching, Frank. Ancestors: 900 Years in the Life of a Chinese Family. (1988).
  • Chorzempa, Rosemary A. Polish roots = Korzenie polskie. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.
  • Christian, Peter. The Genealogist's Internet. 4th ed. Kew, England: National Archives, 2009. ISBN 978-1-905615-39-1
  • Durie, Bruce. Scottish Genealogy. Stroud, England: History Press, 2009.
  • Eales, Anne Bruner & Robert M. Kvasnicka, eds. Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States. Washington, DC: National Archives, 2000.
  • Greenwood, Val. D. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.
  • Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2006.
  • Herber, Mark D. Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.
  • Hey, David. The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Malka, Jeffrey S. Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World. 2nd ed. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2009.
  • Merriman, Brenda Dougall. Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians. 2nd ed. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2010.
  • Morgan, George G. How to Do Everything: Genealogy. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.
  • Riemer, Shirley J. & Roger Minert. The German Research Companion. 3rd ed. Sacramento, CA: Lorelei Press, 2010.
  • Rose, Christine. Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures. San Jose, CA: CR Publications, 2004. ISBN 0-929626-16-8
  • Ryan, James G. Irish Records: Sources for Family and Local History. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1997.
  • Simpson, Jack. Basics of Genealogy Reference: A Librarian's Guide. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59158-514-5
  • Smith, Marian L. "American Names: Declaring Independence" – article on immigrant name changes by the former senior historian for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (now CIS)
  • Szucs, Loretto Dennis, & Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. 3rd rev. ed. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.
  • Taylor, Robert M., and Ralph S. Crandall. Generations and Change: Genealogical Perspectives in Social History. Mercer University Press, 1986.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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