Learn More About Family History

When you discuss someone’s “family history,” that could mean a variety of different things. What might your family history mean to you?

Information About Where You Came From

Whether it’s something you’ve always wondered about, or something your family holds near and dear to their hearts, it’s important to know more about where you came from. Is your family indigenous to the area in which you live? Did your family emigrate hundreds of years ago? Are you the first generation of your family born in the United States?

These are all important pieces of who you are, even if you don’t know each detail. Even if you don’t know a lot about your past, it may have a surprisingly significant effect on you. For example, if your family came to the United States hundreds of years ago with essentially nothing, that impoverished state probably influenced where your family is right now. Learning about that could be an important part of learning about yourself.

Important Events in Your Family

What happened in your family a long time ago? Do you know? If you don’t know a lot about your family history, that may actually make you feel disconnected from the family as a whole. But you don’t have to just resign yourself to your fate. If you research your family history, you can find those events and a renewed appreciation for your family and your place in it.

This can be as significant as learning that your great-great uncle was a very important wartime figure, or as mundane as learning that your grandfather made birdhouses. Learning that information can be helpful for your view of yourself and your family.

Living and Deceased Family Members

For some people, becoming closer with family members is difficult. Whether you’re intentionally estranged from your family, you just don’t keep in contact regularly, or a split in your family ended in a loss of contact, there are plenty of reasons why you might not know about family members who are actually surprisingly close to you in the family tree.

When you research your family history, that includes both living and deceased members of the family. Deceased members can help you understand your ancestry, including important events that happened many years ago. Living members may provide a good way for you to reconnect. If you’ve been looking for a way to talk with your current family members, discussing your family history might be just the ice-breaker you need.

What Can I Use Family History Records to Do?

Lots of family history records can help you pursue a variety of things in your everyday life. These are just a few of the most common ways family history can impact you.

Build a Full Family Tree

If you’ve ever seen a fully fleshed-out family tree, you know it can be truly massive and impressive. Have you ever secretly or not-so-secretly wished that you could have that kind of family tree? Even if you’ve never had it before, you certainly can now. Family history records can help you build that family tree, complete with any important events in your family’s history.

This can sometimes be quite an arduous task. But if you’re able to take it just a few steps at a time, it’s actually not as difficult as it might seem. Start with a people search and work your way up. Once you’ve created the bare bones of a family tree, you can then go back through and fill things in with interesting tidbits and important information.

Find Lost or Estranged Relatives

Many families contain individuals who simply don’t talk to other members of the family anymore. Sometimes this is intentional on one or both sides. If someone chose to cut ties with the rest of the family, or certain family members decided to stop speaking to that person, it’s definitely difficult to restore that relationship. But sometimes it’s just because contact gradually eroded.

If you want to restore contact either with a relative that cut off contact intentionally or just a relative you haven’t seen in a long time, going through your family history can be just the thing you need to achieve that. You can establish a family tree and start connecting to members of that family tree all at the same time.

Investigate Your Past

People want to know more about their past. Even if you know your personal past and sometimes your parents’ past, that history stretches back much further than that. The past you know isn’t always the full story. You might want to know when your family immigrated from another country, where different members of your family lived throughout the years, or a variety of other facts.

No matter what you’re trying to find out or how much information you have right now, you can discover the records you need to investigate the past and your family’s history. Just a bit of looking around with a people search might reveal a surprising amount of information on your family.

How Can I Compile My Family History?

Although these are all great ways to utilize your family history, you need a way to actually find that history to begin with. These tactics will help you create a fully fleshed-out family history.

Collect Family-Owned Records

Your first step should be to consult your family directly. Who knows what kind of information your family maintained over the years? Especially if you have any family members interested in genealogy, you may be able to find records that another person has already unearthed for you. That can cut down drastically on the amount of work you have to do.

These family records can also include records that you simply won’t be able to find anywhere else. Maybe your family collected a set of handwritten letters from one of your ancestors, detailing conditions during WWI. Maybe someone still holds a diary about an ancestor’s immigration process. This is all useful information to have before you delve into other resources.

Find Official Legal Records

Whether you have familial records or not, your next step should be to go digging for official public records regarding your family. These records might include marriage licenses, vital records and even criminal records, all of which may be able to help you build a better picture of your family history.

To discover all these records, your first stop should be PeopleFinders. You can perform a people search on yourself or a close relative, then start looking through the family and known associates list to see if you can find other people who might be part of your family tree. Follow vital records, suggested relatives and other information to work your way through the family records process.

Get Extensive Information With PeopleFinders

An important part of building your family tree is getting as much information as possible. Even the smallest pieces of information might end up playing a big role, especially if you’re trying to connect the pieces to a family member who has very little legal presence. You need to know you have everything available.

That assurance is exactly why so many people trust PeopleFinders. It’s an established industry leader with billions of records for millions of American adults — one of the largest online people searches available. If you’re able to find information on your family history from any online people search, it will be on PeopleFinders.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can peoplefinders.com help with family history research?

PeopleFinders can help with our wealth of both historical and current public records information. Such info can reveal details about your family that you never knew about before.

Can I do family history research for free on peoplefinders.com?

We reveal some remedial information for free to help you know you're on the right track. But you will need to pay to access any of the deeper public records info.

How can I do research on family history online?

Next to public records sites like ours, you will find a number of genealogical sites that specialize in family history research.

How do public records help with family history research?

Public records can actually help to paint a fairly detailed picture of a person's life. They may include things like a person's birth records and death records, plus what they did for a living, where they went to school, and so on.

Where else can I go to get information about family history?

Start by talking to family members with whom you're close. Then, you can branch out to more extended family.

What Is a Family History?