Find People From the Past: A Genealogy Resource Guide for Kids

Would it be shocking to learn that your family was descendants of the the first United States president, George Washington! Wouldn't it be cool to discover that you belong to the lineage of one of America’s greatest men? This is one of the reasons why your parents are interested in tracing your family history and why you should also develop this interest. Genealogy is part of history. If history studies and records past world events; genealogy is confined to the study of a specific family and its ancestral line.

Genealogy is derived from the Greek word, genea which means family and logos which means knowledge/science. Thus it is defined as the science of a person’s history in relationship to one's own family and lines of ancestry. Building your family tree is just one aspect of genealogy. You can fantasize that you are Sherlock Holmes in the process of searching for your roots and identity.

Genealogy is also used to trace a missing family member in cases of disaster and critical events as the Holocaust where the Jews searched for their kins. For most people, genealogy is a means to discover their identity by following their cultural roots. Or for kids like you, searching for one’s roots is one great adventure!

The media, especially TV programs, are popularizing genealogy by shows like Who do you think you are? This popular show presented celebrities such as Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow who received assistance tracing their family trees. Television has helped to popularize genealogy among the masses. In the past, the task of searching for one’s family history was arduous which required expertise and money. However, today the magic of the Internet makes it an easy task for people all over the world to trace their lineage. Books, magazines and even organizations are available at your disposal. Legal procedures have opened avenues which were closely restricted in the past.

Genealogy is claimed to be the second oldest profession in the world. Professional geologists are trained and possess a number of skills necessary for researching and finding individuals. Important skills for any genealogist include a strong background in history and the ability to interpret and analyze evidence correctly. Proper training and credentials are necessary to build a successful career as a genealogist.

However, kids do not need a degree to start this fascinating and addicting hobby. You can start by following one line of your ancestor or find out about the descendants of a chosen ancestor. You can also begin investigating surnames and discover their history. Various ways to trace your lineage include: visiting genealogy websites, looking up records and documents online, asking experts for help, and seeking information from local libraries and parish. Use this as staring point to trace your family ancestry.

An interesting part of genealogy is creating your family tree. Here are useful tips:

1. Record all the information you already know about your family.

2. Inquire from other relatives about other family members.

3. Further research will need to be done for family members who cannot be found. Search for original records.

4. Organize your documents properly and analyze them before starting your family tree.

5. You can start your family tree and store information using note books, index cards and files but the best way is to use computer software.

6. Just download a family gene tree sheet and begin your family tree research.

Here are some fun sites and great resources for learning more about genealogy:

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