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8 Reasons (and more…) Why Your Genealogy Research Needs Census Records

Introduction: What is a Census?

A census is a survey of a population, usually the whole population. This includes questions about age, occupation, household relationships, income and more.

The most common type of census is the decennial census. This is conducted every 10 years and it helps to collect information about the entire population.

The United States Census Bureau has a number of different kinds of censuses to help collect information about the population living in the U.S. There are three types of census’s, the decennial census, a population survey and a sample survey.

There are two types of census’s in Canada: the National Census and the Regional Census. The National Census is conducted every five years by Statistics Canada to provide information about population, dwelling, language, etc. It is mandatory for all Canadians to participate in this census. The regional census is made up of smaller surveys that are done annually or biannually. The National Census is an extremely detailed survey that lasts for 10 days. However, these surveys can be completed in about 30 minutes. These smaller surveys are less detailed than the National Census but provide valuable information to the government.

A census record can provide a lot of information about your ancestors and their place of origin. It is the best source for building a family tree and making any connections to distant relatives.
Which Census Records are the Most Useful for Genealogists?

In the U.S., the 1900 Census is one of the most popular records for genealogists. It was the first census to include questions such as place of birth, occupation, and marital status. The 1910 Census includes family relationships and age while the 1920 Census has a question about citizenship status.

It can be difficult to find out which records are best for each individual case. For example, if you want to search for a specific person and know their date of birth and last name, then the 1940 Census is your best bet. But if all you know is that they were born in America in 1912 then it would be better to use the 1900 Census because there was no 1940 census in that year.

Reading a Census Record?

Census records are a valuable resource when researching genealogies. They provide personal information of all the people living in a specific area at one point in time.

Depending on the country, the census is taken every 10 years, and in some cases every 5 years. A census is an official count of the population.

The following are some tips for reading census records:

1) When reading the entries, it is important to check for missing columns or rows. In many cases, not all columns/rows will be complete due to different reasons. The most common reason for this would be because the person was too young or too old to answer certain questions.

2) Columns with a “0” should also be considered when scanning through a record. If the column is not important for the topic, it should be left blank or have a “0” value. This is to keep the data organized and easy to read.

Why Should I Be Looking for Census Records In My Genealogy Research?

We should start with the census records because they give us the most accurate family data. They include our family members, their ages, birthplaces, occupations and other information that is often hard to find in other records.

The oldest federal census was conducted in 1790 and at that time there were only 6 states in the union. The next census was carried out in 1800 with 2 more states added to make a total of 8 states. The 1810 census was the first one to count all of the states except Vermont which refused to take part due to its small population size.

Census records are also good for finding where your ancestors lived because they list every person’s home county or state when it was recorded by officials at that time.

8 Fantastic Reasons to Use a Genealogical Census System in Your Family History Search!

In this section, we will read about eight reasons and advantages of using a census in your genealogy research.

  1. A census is a document that records the population and demographic information of a specific region. It is a list of all the people who live in one specific place at a given moment in time.
  2. Censuses are important for genealogists because they can provide vital information about ancestors, such as where they lived and what family members they had.
  3. Census records can also provide the last known date of an ancestor’s birth, marriage, death or immigration. In addition to that, censuses can be used to estimate an ancestor’s birthplace and occupation.
  4. A genealogical census system is a great way to organize and manage your research. It not only simplifies the process of finding and organizing information, but it also can make your research more worthwhile!
  5. Census systems typically work like this: you assign every family member (or important ancestor) a unique identifier. You then save all of their records in one file, which makes it easy for you to find them later on if you need to do more research on that particular ancestor or family member.
  6. Census systems can be as elaborate as you want them to be! Some people create detailed census sheets that include physical descriptions of each family member, occupations, birth dates and death dates, marriages and divorces – anything else they might want to know about their ancestors.
  7. Census sheets are a wonderful way to document the history of a family. They can be compiled for any group or organization and contain an extensive list of details about its members. Collections of this information have been used in the past to help people find their family members, research their genealogy, and discover more about their heritage.
  8. Ancestry.com’s new family tree feature, launched in 2016, allows individuals to add occupations, birth dates and death dates, marriages and divorces – anything else they might want to know about their ancestors. Others simply use it as a quick resource to quickly find the names of the parents or children of a person they’re researching.

Ancestry is a website where you can use census records to research your genealogical and family tree online. Ancestry lets you enter a name and find out family relations, immigration, military records, photos, and more.

Conclusion: The Importance of the Census in Our Family History Search

The census is one of the most important and accessible sources for genealogy research in the United States. Census records provide a wealth of detailed information about our ancestors: their names, ages, birthplace, occupation, and residence.

Census records can be accessed through both online databases and on microfilm at your local library. The National Archives has digitized over 33 million pages of census records with more than 2.5 million images available for viewing on their website.

The census records are easily accessible for researchers because it is available online, searchable by county, state, year and township. The census records are the most useful tool in tracing back your family lineage.

Note: To assist in in your research here are couple of links to get you started.

Canada Census Records Explained! on the Genealogy Guide website is an easy detailed and an excellent article to read.

In the U.S., About Census Records at the National Archives

Canada, Censuses at the Library and Archives Canada and download the PDF Tracing Your Ancestors in Canada from the Collections Canada website.

In Australia, a good place to start searching for Census Records is from Public Records and the NSW Government – State Archives and Records

MORE LINKS

If you are a member of Ancestry, a good place to start is the ‘Census and Voter Lists’. Other places for censuses with paid & free to do some genealogical research are:

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Using Genealogy Research Sheets To Help You Track Your Family History

What is a Genealogy Research Sheet?

A Genealogy Research Sheet is a genealogical research tool that helps to organize and document the information gathered during a genealogical search.

Using the Genealogy Research Sheet, researchers can create an organized and detailed checklist of all the information they have found. The sheet should include all possible sources for this information such as census records, vital records, oral history interviews, and any other items that were found during research.

The sheet’s columns are typically labelled as “Name”, “Date”, “Location” or “Source”. These columns can then be filled with important details such as birth date, death date, marriage date, etc.

How to Make a Genealogy Research Sheet For Your Family Tree & Individual Records

A genealogy research sheet is a compact tool for organizing your family tree research. It can be used to generate lists of records for each person in your family tree. By doing so, you will be able to easily find the information you need without having to search through piles of files or memories with dates and details all jumbled together.

A genealogy research sheet can be done by hand or on a computer using an Excel spreadsheet. It’s not complicated, but it does require some effort at the beginning if you want the finished product to help you efficiently with your genealogy research.

What to Put on a Genealogy Research Sheet and How It Will Help You Find Your Family’s History

A research sheet is where genealogists put important information about the family they are researching.

An example of a family tree research sheet:

In this section, I am going to be talking about what to put on a genealogy research sheet and how it can help you find your family history. A research sheet is a document where genealogists put important information about the family they are researching.

A typical genealogy research sheet (such as a ‘Family Record Sheet’ Link to last blog post) includes things like parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren. It also includes birth dates and birthplaces as well as any marriages or divorces that have happened so far. The most important thing on this form is birth dates and birthplaces as those will be the easiest way for you to find out who your ancestors

Different Types of Genealogy Research Sheets And Which One Is Best for You?

As genealogy research becomes increasingly popular, the availability of genealogy research sheets has grown.

It is difficult to say what is the best genealogy research sheet out there because it largely depends on the user’s needs. However, they can be categorized into three categories:

1. Clean and Simple Genealogy Research Sheets: Finding information about your family history can be a long and tedious process. With the right tools, it is possible to simplify these tasks. Genealogy research sheets are a great way to organize and store your family tree records in one place. They are usually simple and straightforward but provide a great overview of your family’s records.

2. Advanced Genealogy Research Sheets: These genealogy sheets offer a lot more information than clean and simple ones and require more time for reading due to their complexity level.

3. Family Tree Software: Genealogy software is probably the most expensive but also the most powerful as it merges all of your family records into one place. It can be used for many functions, but one of the most popular is for genealogy research. Many different types of software are available, ranging in price from free to hundreds of dollars.

Keep your records in an orderly and methodical manner.

Enjoy ‘Discovering Your Past‘ and learning about Genealogy.

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Charts and Sheets Part 2 of 2

Family Group Sheets

Great! You’re back to go onto the next step in recording your ancestors stories.

As I had mentioned in the previous blog on Pedigree Charts, there are lots of resources online to download charts and sheets for your use. I recommend downloading the forms from the ‘National Genealogical Society or NGS‘.

The two charts that I previously recommended you to download were the ‘Pedigree Chart’ a one page document and the ‘Family Group Sheet’, a three page document.

Family Group Sheet

You could use a standalone or an online genealogy program but I would strongly suggest doing it by hand first. You will learn a lot more and the tools you gain will show in your finished charts and forms.

So now that you have finished your first ‘Pedigree Chart‘, now you can begin working on a ‘Family Group Sheet‘, starting with your family.

Family Group Sheets are primarily used to summarize vital information about families. This sheet is for recording family units displaying information about the parents and children. The sheets and records will also show birth, marriage and death information, additional spouses, names of husband’s and wife’s parents, information about the children and their spouse.

These sheets can be used as a quick reference. If you have hit a brick wall, and you need to find answers to a family puzzle then these sheets can help you find an answer. Organizing your family tree with these forms will keep you organized and you can access data very quickly with them. It is a good practice to occasionally revisit your sources in your document and ensure they are properly recorded and updated with any new source material. These forms could also jog a memory and story from one of your relatives of someone who is in your tree.

Gathering sources can be anything of importance or something that can be attached to a person in your tree. Some of the info or artifacts could be part of your family genealogy treasures. Sources may include:

  • Recollections from your own memories
  • Family heirlooms, journals, old photographs, scrapbook, diaries, etc
  • Interviews with family members on and audio or video recording
  • Vital and Church records such as birth, christening/baptism, marriage, divorce, death records,etc
  • Online sources such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, FindMyPast.com or FamilySearch.org

If you have any information that can be added to your Family Record Sheet, record the information and who you got it from, and the date you received it.

Remember the rules for documenting genealogy from the previous blog, ‘Starting Your Family Tree with Charts and Sheets – Part 1 of 2 – Pedigree Charts’. Review the rules. Tips and practices to pay attention to are:

  1. Write surnames in capital letters to distinguish last names from first and middle names. Always list last name first when recording names. Do not abbreviate names and record nicknames in quotation marks. (ie JONES, Harold “Red” Walter). If you know the middle name, spell it out as the person may have gone by their middle name when they were living and would help you when you are searching census records or newspaper articles. Record names by entering the full name: last, first, and middle.
  2. List women’s maiden names, not their married names and if you don’t know the maiden name just put a ? in the area for the surname. If the woman has been married more than once then it is a good idea to record other married names in brackets (ie WHITE/ALBERTSON). This can also help in your research.
  3. For consistency, it is best practice to format dates as <day, month, full year>. For example record the date as 21 December 1867. In your research you may have to record dates as either Unknown, 1867, before 1902 or after 1936.

Since we are starting on your family, you will fill in information about your father. First you need to record and fill in the area at the top for ‘Name and/or Date” and to the right the area for ‘Place”.

Start filling in the information on the husband. Enter his name, his date of birth, marriage info, etc then go down to the wife and enter as much information as possible on her and then into each of the children’s data sheet areas. There are data areas for nine children, if you need more to record, print out an extra <Page 3> and input your information and findings.

After you have filled in the information on all the children, record any sources you may have into the allotted areas on the forms.

Citing Sources is very important for genealogists and I highly recommend reading an article by John Wylie on genealogy.com, ‘How to Cite Sources – Recording Where Your Find Information’ it is excellent; the do’s and don’t s. Once you read this article you will have a much better understanding why you should do it.

Another article by Rhonda R. McClure, also on genealogy.com, ‘Citing Sources You Find Online, Overheard in GenForum, October 24, 2002’, is worth reading as well!

Get into the habit recording sources so that your Genealogy Charts and Sheets are properly documented.

The last thing you should do is on the bottom of each sheet you need to fill the area ‘Prepared By/Date‘.

Occasionally you will have to revisit each Family Record Sheet and make any necessary changes or amendments.

At this time the forms are completed and you will need to store them away properly in document protectors. I would suggest putting the ‘Pedigree Chart‘ and ‘Family Record Sheet‘ together into three-ring binder and colour code them by families. Doing this will preserve and keep them safe.

Next, complete a Family Group Sheet on another family unit. Start your next one with your grandparents on your paternal side and then one on your maternal side of the family.

Doing a web search on Google will give you plenty of info on researching your family tree. I tried a video search for ‘How to Cite Sources for Researching Genealogy’ and you will be amazed on the information available. Check it out. There are lots of videos on ‘Citing Sources’ and soon you will become an expert in genealogy in no time at all.

Enjoy ‘Discovering Your Past‘ and learning about Genealogy. Learn everything you can and share your tree with others in your family and/or other genealogists.

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Charts and Sheets Part 1 of 2

You want to learn more about your family history and be able to create a great tree with the technology available today.

Start with what you know already, yourself!

One of the first things that you should do is gather as much information as you can. In your research, an important fact finding resource you have is living relatives. Visit or call your grandparents and older relatives now to record your findings. Then collect everything you have gathered together into one area before you start filling in the genealogy sheets that you will be downloading.

Basically the first thing that comes to mind for a family tree is everyone thinks of it like a chart. This chart is called a ‘Pedigree Chart’, it displays the people you are directly descended from. Sometimes the form can be called the ‘Ancestor Chart’, the Pedigree Chart covers the basics of your written records, it’s your starting point. This will be covered in more detail below.

The chart does not show siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins. The ‘Pedigree Chart‘ will only show direct ancestors: your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, and so on. It all depends on the chart you use and fill out.

There are lots of resources online of charts and sheets for you to download. Various forms are readily available from online genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, Cyndi’s List, etc. It’s best to start off by printing off a copy of the form you will be using for tree. All you really need is a basic form to start off with.

Today, I am recommending you download the forms from the ‘National Genealogical Society – NGS‘. It is a well known recognized society that has been around since 1903. They have excellent charts to download and are fillable PDF’s that you can complete right on your computer and print off. Fillable forms let you type onto them so you can save them digitally.

The most important thing to do when working on your family tree is to record and document all of your information. Once you do, you will appreciate it later. Record the information that you have gathered onto the forms. To do this you need to download two charts to begin your tree.

The two charts that that I recommend you to download are the ‘Pedigree Chart’ and the ‘Family Group Sheet’ (will be covered in the next blog).

The two most common forms for beginner family tree historians.

Once you have downloaded the PDF’s, you will start by filling in the ‘Pedigree Chart‘ first. It’s best to print it off first, fill them in with a pencil as it’s easier to make amendments or corrections. Later on in your research you may have to make changes. You can always fill it in on your computer or on an online genealogy program once you know the basics of genealogy and then print them off.

The forms are self-explanatory but if you are a newbie we will go over the entire form so you can complete the chart, ‘Step by step!’

If you are just beginning your tree you have to start somewhere and completing the ‘Pedigree Chart‘ is one of the first things you should do.

You could use a standalone or an online genealogy program but I would strongly suggest doing it by hand first. You will learn a lot more and the tools you gain will show in your finished charts and forms. Also, you will appreciate the end results more.

Before you start, some good tips and practices to pay attention to when you are filling out any genealogical forms and charts are:

  1. Write surnames in capital letters to distinguish last names from first and middle names. Always list last name first when recording names. Do not abbreviate names and record nicknames in quotation marks. (ie JONES, Harold “Red” Walter). If you know the middle name, spell it out as the person may have gone by their middle name when they were living and would help you when you are searching census records or newspaper articles. Record names by entering the full name: last, first, and middle.
  2. List women’s maiden names, not their married names and if you don’t know the maiden name just put a “?” in the area for the surname. If the woman has been married more than once then it is a good idea to record other married names in brackets (i.e. WHITE/ALBERTSON). This can also help in your research.
  3. For consistency, it is best practice to format dates as <day, month, full year>. For example record the date as 21 December 1867. In your research you may have to record some dates as either; Unknown, 1867, before 1902 or after 1936.

Start filling in your first ‘Pedigree Chart‘, beginning with yourself. At the top right hand corner of the form, fill in the Page number, in this case #1. Fill in the Pedigree Chart for – the family surname and first & middle name of person (your name); and then fill the Chart no., again in this case #1.

Begin filling in the data about yourself in #1. On the bottom left of the form you will see a legend for the areas and what they mean when you complete it. The legend is as follows:

b. = birth / m. = marriage / d. = death / p. = place

Next step is to fill in your parents information. Your father is inserted into #2; and #3 is your mother’s information. Fill it in as per the example below:

The next step is recording the information you have on your grandparents. Fill in as much info as you can on all of your other grandparents.

Next, fill in the information on your great grandparents. Beside each of your great grandparents you will notice another block to fill in to continue to another page (see below) and continuing the tree for each of the other great grandparents family ancestors. If you have the information, that’s great as you can begin inputting more of your family onto separate Pedigree Charts to continue the tree further. As per the example, the JONES family will continue on the 2nd Pedigree Chart on Page 2 and his wife Rebecca Conrad on Page 3.

On a new Pedigree Chart, you will fill in the far left box (as you did on the first one) of the tree with the information of one of your great grandparents. You would do the same process on each of your great grandparents (you will have 8 to do).

As you can see, your family tree is growing substantially if you get to this point. Genealogy is a continuous and never-ending hobby but is very rewarding.

Remember, you have a lot of choices in selecting a ‘Pedigree Chart‘ from various sources and I have only covered the one from NGS. They are all basically the same.

So, have fun completing your Pedigree Chart on your family and ancestors. Next, you can continue recording your genealogy saga with Family Group Sheets which will covered in the next blog.

Enjoy ‘Discovering Your Past’ and learning about Genealogy. Learn everything you can and share your tree with others in your family and/or other genealogists.

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Complete Beginners Guide to Genealogy and How it Became a Popular Hobby in the Digital Age

Click Here to Download or Watch The Video Now!

Introduction: What is Genealogy and Why is it Important?

Genealogy is the study of relations between individuals, tracing the natural human family tree. The word derives from Greek γενεαλογία (genealogia), which literally means “origin (γένεσις) of a race (γένος)”, “pedigree” or “descent”. Genealogy can also mean family history.

We are all related to each other in some way no matter how far back you go in your family tree. It is important because it provides an opportunity for insight into our cultural heritage and genetic ancestry.

What are the Best Websites to Discover Your Family’s History?

There are many ways to learn about your family history. A popular approach is through carefully studying family heirlooms, scrapbooks, and diaries. However, the internet also offers a number of different ways to learn more about your ancestry. For example, a quick search on Ancestry.com or MyHeritage.com among others will yield a list of records that may help you track down relatives you’ve never met before!

Professional genealogists have many tools at their disposal when researching content for family trees. However, not all writing tools are the same and some better serve certain purposes than others. Below is a list of some common professional writing tools and their respective use case:

– Online Courses: Online courses are available for genealogy and provide your first steps in gathering and recording your family tree.

– Blogs: Reading blogs is a great way for someone who is just starting out in researching their family tree and is great way to gain knowledge as a family historian. Bloggers can create content based on what they are passionate about and pass on valuable genealogy tips.

What are the Best Apps for Discovering Your Family History & Genealogy?

We all want to know our roots, find our family history. And with the help of modern technology it’s easier than ever. There are plenty of apps including Family Tree Builder, Geni, Ancestry.com and MyHeritage which can walk you through the whole process of genealogy.

Many online genealogy websites offer free app or program downloads to get you started.

I have compiled a list of the best apps for discovering your family history & genealogy that will not only help you find out more about your relatives but also create a rich family tree that you can display with pride.

Below is a short list for you to check out:

  1. Ancestris.org – operating systems this excellent program can be installed on is Mac, Windows and Linux.
  2. Ancquest.com – Ancestral Quest Basics version can be installed on a Mac and Windows.
  3. LegacyFamilyTree.com – Legacy 9.0 Standard Version can be installed on a Windows OS, and if you’re a Mac user you would need to contact them on how to run on your operating system.
  4. RootsMagic.com – The Essentials version can be installed on a Windows or a Mac OS.
  5. Gramps-project.org – another program that can be installed on a Mac, Windows and Linux OS’s.

These are all FREE genealogy programs where you can start your tree.

Online Genealogy Websites such as Ancestry and MyHeritage have excellent tools and resources for your research. One excellent tool that MyHeritage has is the Photo editing tools so that you have the option to colorize and enhance black and white photos. They also make it easy for you to find your ancestors. Let’s say your father’s mother’s brother’s son, for example; no matter if they are alive or not.

How to Dig Deep into Ancestral Research with the Help of Technology

Knowing about one’s family history is very important in this day and age. Ancestral research can help us find out more about our ancestors and what they did in their lifetime. With the help of technology, we can dig deep into ancestral research without having to spend so much time on it.

The following are some of the ways in which technology can be used for ancestral research:

– The use of search engines to look through various databases

– Using public records to get information on your ancestors

– Knowing how to use genealogy websites to get info on your ancestors

– Knowing how ancestry DNA tests work

Conclusion: Start Digging Into Your Family’s Roots Today With These Helpful Tips & Tools

Achieving your goal is only possible when you start with the right foundation so it is important to know where you come from. It can help you understand your cultural roots, your family history, where you are now and where you might be going in the future.

This article provides readers with some helpful tips and tools that will help them to start digging into their family’s roots today.

3 Tips & Tools for Researching Your Family Tree

In this post, I have compiled a list of 3 tips and tools for researching your family tree.

1. Ask relatives for help: Family members often have the most up-to-date information on the lineage of their family. They might know information that is not publicly available or have personal archives that you could access if they grant permission to use the archives in your research.

2. Search at a local library: Libraries may have local collections, as well as databases which can be accessed from their computers.

3. Use a search engine to find census records: You might find personal details about ancestors online through census records, birth and death certificates, or old newspapers articles which often feature obituaries and death notices from decades ago.

There are so many resources for researching your family tree online. You can do it yourself, or you can hire a genealogist to research the information for you.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”

Alex Haley

https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/8861-alex-haley

Click Here to Download or Watch The Video Now!

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Some Facts About Coat of Arms and Designing One For Fun!

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In the 12th Century the symbol of the Coat of Arms was used to identify families or individuals. It was very widely adopted by kings, princes, knights and other major power holders throughout western Europe. By the mid-thirteenth century, the coats of arms were adopted by priests, cities, towns, commoners, peasants and burghers. They used them as seals or other insignia.

The Coat of Arms was originally designed for medieval battle purposes. They were meant to represent the achievements of the person, state, or corporation to whom or which the arms were granted. Generally refers to a detailed design to a cape, shield, crest and helmet.

Armorial bearings, or coats of arms, take us back to the glamour of the middle ages. In days of old, knights displayed heraldic devices on their horses’ caparisons, their servants’ liveries, and on their banners and shields. As war medals are awarded today, the coat of arms and other heraldic devices could be awarded to knights for their service in battle. But the primary role of coats’ of arms was identification in battle – the bright, vibrant colors and symbols identified the knight to his men, and his flying banner was a rallying point for them.

A family crest is altogether different and should not be confused with the Coat of Arms. A family crest refers only to the small image that lies on the helm (top of the helmet). 

Heraldry refers to the study of coats of arms, and takes its name from the Heralds, who were the special ambassadors and messengers of feudal times. They were employed by all great lords, and by the king. Because Heralds traveled freely around the country, they were also the armorial officials. They granted armorial bearings. At tournaments, it was the Heralds’ job to check that no knight appeared in the tournament lists displaying the heraldic devices of another. In battle, it was the Heralds’ job, on both sides, to identify the living and the dead, and to declare the winner.

Originally the term coat of arms was the surcoat that was embroidered with armorial bearings. This surcoat or cloth tunic was worn over armor shielding it from the sun’s rays. It was used to distinguish one knight from another. It repeated the bearer’s arms as they appeared on his banner or pennon and on his shield, and it was particularly useful to the heralds as they toured the battlefield identifying the dead.

Prior to the Coat of Arms being used and adopted, it was extremely dangerous for fighting armies on each side. Whenever a knight was fully dressed (with his full armor with his plate mail and helmet) no one on the battlefield could be recognized during conflicts. Because of this, knights were creative and began to paint symbols on their shields. So that knights could be easily identified and recognized – the “coat of arms” came to be.

Once the Coats of Arms were awarded to individuals, such as a knight or an earl, they had the legal right to display it and be recognized. Any person having the right to display and bear a coat of arms must either have had it granted to them or be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past.

The designs for coats of arms included four main things: the shield was divided into sections. Each section had an image with something that was recognizable with the family for which the coat of arms was made for. On either side of the shield, there might be objects or animals – such as a dragon, griffin or lion – these images on the shield look like the animal was holding it up.

Many families today seek a connection with their ancestors through their coat of arms. However, obtaining an official right to display a true coat of arms – i.e. an armorial bearing that was granted to your ancestor – can be a long and tedious process. And for many people, they may not even have an ancestor who was granted an official coat of arms in the first place.

There is always an option to create a crest for yourself or your family from scratch. It may not be “official,” but it can be fun to customize a coat of arms that is specific to you, your interests, hobbies, family history, philosophy, or religion, to name a few examples.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun designing your own coat of arms. Of course, it will never be recognized by any government or College of Heralds (the folks charged with keeping track of official armorial bearings), but it can be a fun family project nonetheless.

If you have an artistic bent, design your own coat of arms using art from one of the dozens of heraldic clipart libraries online. To make your fun family coat of arms look authentic, you’ll need two basic components: the field, and the charges (also known collectively as “the shield”)

Over time, the coat of arms has come to simply mean the shield we so often think of when imagining a classic coat of arms. The color that the shield is painted is called “the field.” Any item which was painted onto the field of the shield was called “the charge.” Therefore, if a shield has a lion painted on it, it’s said to be “charged with a lion.”

Common charges on shields included animals, mythical beasts, birds, plants, flowers, and inanimate objects. Charge your own coat of arms with any symbol which has meaning for you. 

Anyways, have some fun making a Coat of Arms with your kids and add it to your genealogy files. It’s a good way to spend some quality time with the ones you love.

Other Heraldry Resources

An excellent website to learn more about heraldic symbolism is at Heraldry and Crests https://www.heraldryandcrests.com/pages/heraldic-symbolism-a-z

Also, check out on the Family Search website the article on ‘How a Family Crest or Coat of Arms Leads to Family Discovery’ and be sure to read the infographic for ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding a Coat of Arms’ at visual.ly.

More Resources for Designing Your Own Coat of Arms

Don’t feel like making a coat of arms from scratch? These sites offer to put a coat of arms based on your last name on a wide variety of products. (Note to serious genealogy researchers: These sites should be consulted and used for entertainment only. They shouldn’t be deemed to accurately contain a coat of arms to which you may have a legitimate claim.)

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17 Resources For Tracing Your Family Ancestry

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If you’re like me, when you were young, looking beyond your mother and father to find out where you came from just wasn’t important.  

Well, I’ve found that the older I got, the more important my ancestry became.  I’m not sure why.  There are so many holes and unanswered questions. Maybe I have a broader perspective on things now and need to search.  Maybe you’re just curious like I am – is there a famous historical figure or do we have distant ties to nobility in our families’ past.  Perhaps we are looking for some wild or romantic skeleton in our closet.  

Whatever our reasons are, I find tracing my ancestry awe-inspiring and fascinating.  If you like history then you will love ancestry in discovering your personal history. Ancestry and history are intertwined and unique. It is very interesting to learn about other people – how they lived, what they did, who they knew. But I’ve also learned along the way that most people haven’t a clue what resources are available to them beyond the usual – interviewing family, checking birth certificates and newspapers, etc.

Below is a list of 17 resources you will be able to take advantage of if you’re really serious about finding out about your ancestry and “where you came from.”

  1. The obvious, of course, is interviewing family members; not only mom and dad, but aunts, uncles, distant cousins.  Start by drawing a quick family tree going back just two generations and start making calls or sending mail or emails.  Here are some of the basic things you’ll want to know:
  • Complete names (married and maiden names)
  • Addresses throughout their lives
  • Birth records
  • Military service (when and where)
  • Marriage records (even attendants, if possible)
  • Property records (state and county)
  • Burial records (where)
  • Old pictures, especially if they have names and dates
  1. Old Family Bibles.  While it doesn’t seem to be such a common practice these days, in the past, families kept their bible forever, often keeping record of family members, births, marriages, and deaths on pages within the bible. Acquiring a bible from a family member is a heirloom that should be cherished – it’s a piece of family history that could hold clues to your past.
  1. Old Family Letters.  Once again, with technology, we’ve all but lost the art of letter writing (what will our own children and grandchildren have to look back on in years to come?).  But older generations tended to preserve letters of importance; Christmas, birthday and valentines day cards.  These letters and cards can oftentimes be of great value in tracing your ancestry.  They may contain important dates, facts, and places that will be of help.  Check return addresses and postmarks for more information.
  1. Legal documents are a great resource.  Such documents include deeds (property addresses), wills (names of kin you may not have known about), marriage licenses (note the witnesses), birth certificates, voter registration, adoption records, and even judgements. Your search for these documents should begin within your state/provincial and county records.
  1. What about associations your ancestors may have belonged to?  These would include churches, clubs, veterans groups and lodges, all of which may be able to provide background information for your search. 
  1. Census data.  After 1840 the Census collected age, place of birth, occupation, personal wealth, education, spouse, children, hired hands, and even immigration information. Copies of the original decennial census forms from 1790 through 1930 are available on microfilm for research at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC (http://www.archives.gov/), at Archives regional centers, and at select Federal depository libraries throughout the United States. 

In Canada, search on the government website for censuses from 1825 – 1926. Lots of information available on this page to search for your ancestors.

Check FREECEN for free information or the online censuses at ‘The National Archives’ for UK censuses from 1841 – 1911.

In Australia, the best place to search for census data on relatives would be the Public Records – Census date go back to 1828.

  1. Naturalizations records.

For Pre-1906 Naturalizations:

Contact the State Archives for the state where the naturalization occurred to request a search of state, county, and local courts records.

Contact the NARA regional facility that serves the state where naturalization occurred to request a search of Federal court records.

For Naturalizations After 1906:

After 1906, the courts forwarded copies of naturalizations to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Naturalizations from Federal Courts are held in the NARA’s regional facilities for the Federal courts for their area. Learn more: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/naturalization/

For a FREE Immigration and Naturalization try searching on this RootsWeb site. This website has excellent information for new genealogists.   

  1. Grave sites!  Headstones will give dates and possible family names. A few websites to check for your ancestors are:
  1. Libraries.  Here you’ll find newspaper articles (look for obituaries, and birth and marriage announcements) and books on local history (what was taking place during their life).  Many libraries can be accessed online.  You will also find genealogy information in several libraries, the Allen County Public Library in Indiana having the second largest genealogical collection in the US.  Another good source is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT.
  1. Genealogy message boards.  Google “genealogy message boards” and join in–you’ll find a wealth of information available! 
  • Try an initial search with OnGenealogy – has a list of 8 FREE genealogy message boards to continue your research.
  • Genealogy.com – GenForum is the ultimate research resource with over 14,000 online forums devoted to genealogy, including surnames, U.S. states, countries, and general topics.
  1. Military records.  You’ll find several sources online, including NARA (http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/).
  1. High school and college yearbooks.  These sources can help locate a relative or provide other resources for your search.  Check online.
  1. Family pedigrees.  These are family groups already linked in a computer system. Accessing an individual’s family group sheet in a linked pedigree will also give you access to all of the records that are linked to that individual.  Two great sources are Kindred Connections (http://www.kindredkonnections.com/index.html) and the Family History Library (http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHL/frameset_library.asp). 
  1. U.S. Immigration records. Two great sources are Ellis Island Records (http://www.ellisislandrecords.org/) and Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/default.aspx?rt=40)
  1. Social Security Death Index.  This is a database of people whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA) beginning about 1962. The best source is RootsWeb.com (http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/?o_xid=0028727949&o_lid=0028727949&o_xt=41534187).
  1. Family History Daily has an awesome list of 50 no-cost family history resources where you will find birth, marriage and death records, obituaries, cemetery listings, newspaper articles, biographies, research tips and so much more.
  1. Genealogy Explained also has 26 websites for your arsenal of genealogy tools and resources in your family tree research.

Now that you’re all grown up and interested in finding your “roots”, these 17 resources should get you well on your way with your ancestry research.  It’ll be a fun and rewarding adventure.

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Taking a FREE Course and Learning About Genealogy

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Why is genealogy so popular? Compassion in learning the history of our ancestors which helps us gain a greater understanding of how they lived in the past.

This is a very important step for anyone thinking of or is new to starting their family tree. 

Are you contemplating taking a genealogy course? If the answer is yes! Read on…

Get the basics and learn how to research the right way. Learn more about your ancestors and where you came from. Understand what you are undertaking; focus and prepare your way before starting any family tree research.

First and foremost, learn the basics of genealogy. Tracing your family tree will be an exhilarating and fascinating journey while you dig deeper into your past.

Taking a course will help you understand the genealogy research process and how to interpret the information you find. Learn how to uncover the past and record your family history. 

Discover different research strategies. Learn how important surnames are and what challenges genealogists have with name variations and name changes. 

Develop a strategy to accomplish your goals and objectives; evaluate the results, and share that information with others. 

Discover where to look, who to contact, and how to make your family history come alive!

Learn about the main source types that include civil, church, census and military records. Learn how to use these different kinds of data in research. 

Record your findings. Bring your family tree to life by properly citing any documents, maps, letters, photos, etc and attaching to the person you are researching. Protect your document.

Remember, learning how to prepare your family’s genealogy the correct way will be – challenging and personally rewarding for you. Leave a legacy for your descendants, a genealogical history that they will be proud of and display. 

Research for FREE genealogy courses that are available! 

Below are eight website links to help you get started:

  • Udemy Free Introductory Course to Genealogy –  A pre-research course to introduce you to genealogy. Sign up for a FREE account and enrol for this FREE beginner course.
  • FamilySearch Learning Center – Has a wide range of FREE genealogy courses available for learning.
  • Lisa LissonWhere To Find Free Genealogy Courses – It’s Easier Than You Think! An article with 11 website links to ‘Free genealogy courses and webinars are a great way to improve a researcher’s genealogy research skills and increase the chance of finding your ancestors.’
  • Future LearnGenealogy: Researching Your Family TreeFREE Course – Dive into your family ancestry and learn how to create a family tree on this online genealogy course.
  • Family History Daily7 Places to Find Free Genealogy Courses and Webinars Online – Links to seven websites offering FREE structured genealogy courses or helpful webinars that cover modern research methods that will open your eyes to a whole new world of genealogy discoveries.
  • Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Check out the FREE Library (also a dropdown box from 2010-21) for various topics and also available in other languages as well.
  • Genealogy.comGenealogy Learning Center – Trace your family’s history for FREE on Genealogy.com as they will guide you along with how-to articles, genealogy guides and other resources. An excellent resource with lots of different subjects covered.
  • Learn Web SkillsResearching Your Family TreeFREE interactive tutorial where you can study subject headings in whatever order you would like. A good starting course to begin with.

If you feel the need to pay for genealogy courses in the future – by all means, as it is your prerogative. But in the meantime, be frugal – save yourself some money and enrol in some FREE courses first. 

What are you waiting for? Select a FREE course today and learn some basic genealogy. Get started on your Family Tree.

I hope that you found this article informative. 

Good Luck!

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Your Legacy: Making Your Family Tree For Free

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Have you ever wondered and asked yourself “How can I make my family tree for free?”.  This is a very common question among beginner family historians. Genealogy can become a very expensive hobby so here are some ideas to get you started and create your family tree for FREE!

Download a free family tree software package

You can create a family tree on paper but with today’s technology of computers, it makes more sense to do it on your computer. And you can do it for FREE! Below is a list for you to check out:

  • Family Tree Builder: from My Heritage which is a very good free genealogy software
  • Family Tree – Ancestry Photo Manager: a FREE photo organizer to consolidate photos, videos, thumb drives, etc into a single unified library.
  • RootsMagic: Essentials is a FREE genealogy and family tree software – very popular with genealogists
  • Legacy Family Tree 9.0: FREE – setting a New Standard while supporting a wide range of reporting features.
  • Family Historian: FREE – rated as the BEST Family Tree Software in 2020, it is great for beginners.
  • Gramps – Genealogy Software: FREE – developed for Linux and UNIX-like operating systems, but it is also available for Windows and Mac OSX. Gramps is an open source software using free tools and services from GitHub.

There are lots of them available on the Internet so you will have to do some initial research. Next you will have to select one that you would be most comfortable with using. Download one software genealogy program to get yourself started and remember this tool will give you the ability to create an awesome family tree.

You may want to start your family tree with an online family tree research program. Below is a list of 5 that I would recommend you researching and deciding on one. It’s hard to make a selection with so many out in cyberspace so this my shortlist for you to make a selection from.

Creating your online family tree

  • Ancestry.com: Create a FREE Online Family Tree to discover your family’s past. Has over 12 billion historical records in their database. Build your online family tree. Once you have your tree started you can always upgrade to one of their paid subscription services and get more detailed information on your ancestors.
  • My Heritage: Family Tree – With My Heritage you can also make a FREE Online Family Tree. If you downloaded the Family Tree Builder mentioned above you can merge the data from your standalone computer software version to the online one. The site provides you with free online family tree search capabilities, tutorials on how to make your tree and billions of international, searchable genealogy records to discover your ancestors. MyHeritage also has an awesome photo enhancer that can colourize old photos, something to check out. An excellent choice if you want to build your online family tree.
  • Findmypast: Family Tree – UK based with a new look. Findmypast online family tree builder, you can easily build a family tree and access it anywhere. In addition to the benefit of digitally preserving your family history research, Findmypast offers you accurate ancestor search results thanks to their genealogical society partners. Their search filters are quite nice, too, as they narrow your ancestor search results to save you valuable time. Build your online family tree. 
  • Family Tree Now: Offers you a FREE online family tree building experience. With one of the largest collections of genealogy records (census records, birth records, death records, marriage & divorce records, living people records and military records), you’re sure to find some long lost ancestors by using their search features. The best part about the Family Tree Now family tree builder is that you will never be charged fees to search,  view details or fill in your tree. It has the ability to search billions of genealogy records 100% FREE to find your ancestors. A GREAT choice to build your online family tree. 
  • Family Tree by FamilySearch – Free Online Tree: largest collection of free genealogy records in the world owned by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only has an Online version with full syncing capabilities with the FamilySearch app and partial individual person syncing with Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic. Has a huge variety of printable charts, forms, keepsakes, maps and more… You can easily share and collaborate with family and other community members. Family Tree – Family Search has an extensive online support, learning center, research wiki. A GREAT choice to build your online family tree. 

You have to start somewhere and to begin your tree it is always best by starting with yourself and work back. 

I would highly recommend for you to download my FREE PDF ‘22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree’. It is the ‘22 Steps’ that is required for you to use as a guide when you start your tree.

Interviewing your parents, grandparents and other relatives

This is an important step in making your family tree–interviewing relatives. Remember it’s free and it is best to get these facts before it’s too late! Better to get this information as soon as you start. 

Sit down with your parents, grandparents and other relatives and find out as much information as they know-names, dates, places-about their parents and their grandparents. These interviews should definitely help you with your family tree back to your great-grandparents or even your great-great-grandparents! If possible, and with permission gather photos, documents, videos, etc. The information you gather during this phase in your research will be the building blocks to your tree. 

Searching for ancestors on free family tree websites

Many family tree websites require you to have a subscription and many have a FREE one available to start. There are a handful of excellent websites that can help you get started:

1) FamilySearch.org – One of the best places to start searching for your family tree. Search for each of your ancestors from your family tree who have passed away by name and with any other identifying information (birth date, death date, etc.)

2) Cyndislist.com – With more than 250,000 links to genealogy websites, this is a must-stop for any person trying to make their family tree. Browse through the links related to your family surnames-you may find websites with information that can help you expand certain of your family lines.

3) GenForum and Ancestry Boards – There are thousands of message boards for surnames where you can post as much information as you have on each surname from your family tree and see if there are others also researching the same line who may be able to help!

4) Family Tree Magazine list of 25 beginner-friendly websites which will get you started.

Visiting a local Family History Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is very involved with genealogy and has over 30,000 congregations in more than 160 countries and territories. In Family History Centers volunteers can give you free advice on how to make and research your family tree. These volunteers can also help you search for microfilms that you can look at to find your ancestors in records from all over the world.

Sharing your family tree

After you have followed the steps above to make your family tree for free, share what you have found with other family members. Consider making a family tree website so that others who are researching similar lines may find parts of their family tree for free!

So, what are you waiting for – go ahead and get started – be the detective and solve your family history!

Don’t forget, download my FREE PDF ‘22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree’.

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Free Genealogy Search – A Step in Your Family Ancestry

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If you’re interested in rediscovering your family’s history, then you should conduct your own research or hire a genealogist to do the search for you. However, you have to consider that hiring a genealogist right away can be very expensive as well as researching for your family’s ancestry alone. It will also take quite a long time to get to your goal on finding the root of your family’s history.

If you think about it, there is a much cheaper way to start searching for your family’s history. Although it will only offer limited results, it is a great way to start your search for your family’s history. It will also save you a lot of time and money because it’s free and it’s available on the internet. The internet contains thousands of different genealogy related websites. You will find a few websites that will offer free genealogy search. Although these free genealogy websites will only offer limited information, it will serve as a great start to find out about your family’s genealogy.

Also, free genealogy search websites will serve as a stepping stone on your search for your ancestors. With this kind of website, you will never again have to leave your home and search public libraries for old newspapers and old public records that may contain information about your family’s history. Here, you can search for your relatives and obtain copies of available documents for free – right in the comforts of your own home.

Since free genealogy search websites don’t contain all the information you need, you can consider gathering what information you can and once you meet a dead end in your search, you can say that it’s time for you to hire a genealogist to do the work for you. You can provide them with all the information you gathered and the genealogist will pick up where you left off. This will lessen the fee for their services as you did some work for yourself. However, the cost will also depend on how far back you want your family tree to be. Always remember that the farther back in the past your family tree is and the harder it is to find documents, the more expensive the fee for the genealogist will be.

Free genealogy search websites are only there to give you a bit of push on your search for your ancestors. You have to remember that free genealogy search websites only contains limited information. And, if you want a more comprehensive search and a proper family tree, you should consider hiring a genealogist to do the work for you.

Professional genealogists know what documents to find and where to find them. They will also furnish you a copy of the original documents and will make a family tree for you if you want them to.

Searching for your genealogy is a fun activity. So, start uncovering your family’s mystery by searching for the preliminary information first in free genealogy search websites and continue with a more comprehensive search with a genealogist.

A great website and article for further reading and to help you in your research is on “Family Tree” article ‘Best Free Genealogy and Family History Websites’ By David A. Fryxell.

This is an awesome resource for anyone who wants to get started in their research.

Good Luck!

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The Success of DNA Testing and Continuing Your Genealogy Research

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Today having your DNA tested is one of the best ways to continue a different angle in researching your family tree. It’s great if you have a family tree already started and want to get more information on your ancestors. Doing so enables you to check out potential distant cousins and discovering more about where you actually came from.

I have had my DNA tested twice with both AncestryDNA and MyHeritageDNA. The results from both are very similar and I have connected with 2nd and 3rd cousins putting faces to names in my tree and also discovering more facts about my extended family.

It’s amazing in the discoveries and where it will lead you. Taking your genealogy research to another level is something that I personally feel that you should endeavour to expand your resources. You just never know where it will take you.

Some information about DNA Testing that you should be aware of before you get it done is described below.

There are about 60,000 billion cells found in the human body. It includes muscle cells, cheek cells, and white blood cells. Each cell contains the whole genetic information which is the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The nucleus inside the cell holds the DNA or chromosomal DNA that consists of Y chromosomal DNA, X chromosomal DNA, and autosomal DNA. The external part of the nucleus holds mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The autosomal DNA comes from both the mother and the father, Y chromosomes is inherited by a son from his father, and mtDNA comes from the mother only.

There are advancements made in testing DNA to meet various areas of interests. For example, the most common uses of DNA are related to finding criminals and proving paternity. But today, genealogy research also uses DNA testing.

For so many years, genealogy has become an important element of the society and a favorite hobby of some enthusiasts. Although this is more rewarding, somehow it brings frustrations even to expert genealogists. It can be very time consuming when doing paper research. More often, it can lead to illegible and damaged documents. But, DNA testing provides quick results without questioning its authenticity or quality. Moreover, the genetic genealogy results can endure the tests of time.

1. Mitochondrial testing is utilized for tracing the maternal heritage of a person. The mtDNA testing is very important since genealogists are mostly females. When they marry, maternal lines are often lost because of changing their surnames. In this manner, they can learn and trace their maternal ancestry. There are advances made in understanding genetics and using laboratory techniques in helping a person to identify maternal lineage through mtDNA tracing services. The distinct mtDNA of person is analyzed and compared to the databases of other samples of mtDNA worldwide, revealing information about the lost ancestry.

The mtDNA remains nearly unchanged even for so many years. You can share the same type of mtDNA with your mother, maternal grandmother, and maternal great grandmother. The same exact mtDNA code can track your direct maternal lineage way back from the time where mtDNA code’s natural mutation occurred. Women who are living today can trace their origins 150 thousands years ago through natural mutations or mitochondrial eve. In connection with matrilineal descent, Eve is the common ancestor. But it doesn’t necessarily imply that Eve is the only woman who lived in that era. There were also other women alive but only the lineage of Eve has survived.

2. Y chromosomal DNA testing is the most common used form of genetic genealogy testing. Some people can even trace if a deceased man is related to them by conducting this test. Like mtDNA, Y chromosomes can be also traced back from one prehistoric father, Adam. The DNA mutation of the first Y chromosomes naturally occurs over many generations. Determining the present Y chromosomes can trace your paternal lineage through searching the Y database worldwide.

Moreover, genealogists can find out if two people are related because they have similar surnames through Y chromosomes testing. It is not impossible since in most cultures, surnames or family names are inherited by children from their fathers like the Y chromosomal DNA.

A successful genealogy research lies on DNA testing because its usefulness is proven as time has passed by. Expanding your ancestry research through your DNA and also researching potential family tree hits on the Internet (Online Genealogy Websites) are worthwhile goals.

Finding relevant original sources is the main goal of any genealogist where I hope you as a family historian will succeed.

DNA Testing is another resource for you too utilize in your quest and continuing family saga.

Link to AncestryDNAAncestryDNA

Link to MyHeritageDNA

For further reading check out the article ‘The Best DNA Testing Kits for 2021’ at PCMag By Molly McLaughlin Updated February 3, 2021