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

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.)


17 Resources For Tracing Your Family Ancestry

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.


Taking a FREE Course and Learning About Genealogy

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!


Your Legacy: Making Your Family Tree For Free

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’.


Free Genealogy Search – A Step in Your Family Ancestry

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!


The Success of DNA Testing and Continuing Your Genealogy Research

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

Why You Should Create a Family Tree?

My mother is your grandmother and my brother is your uncle.

Is this how you teach your kids about your families? How each of us relate to one another and who is the mother to whom?

Why not use a family tree with detailed information and properly cited on how we are connected to each other?

A family tree is not only exceptionally useful as a teaching tool for kids, but it gives us a whole new perspective in life too. Building a family tree can also be a fun lazy-Sunday-afternoon activity with the kids.

Building a family tree can be simple, depending on the kind of family tree you want to build. An elaborate one will take a much longer time, for example, if you want to cut out pieces of coloured paper and pasting them with pictures and short write-ups on the family member. Some people will just draw a family tree and colour portions of it into the family tree. Kids love it and even adults will enjoy this simple and calming activity.

Innovation and advancement in technology catches up with our needs too because there are family tree creators in the form of different online ancestry websites, software and computer programs that can help people create their family tree easily. Using software to create a family tree takes only minutes and can be coloured in and pasted over too. Using software or online genealogy programs to create a family tree is for people who are not keen on the paper, scissor, glue and goo concept of creating family trees. Don’t be surprised, there ARE people who are not too keen on getting down there with art papers sticking to their clothes! Kids can have fun creating family tree online too or with a software program. It depends on individual preferences, really.

A family tree is nothing more than a bunch of charts that links one person to another in a family. You can start from whichever ancestor you want when start your family tree but you should start with yourself then work back through time. For those who are interested in genealogy, you can go as far back as you want.

Creating a family tree that is in-depth will definitely require some investigation and detective work, such as interviewing of family members, and also lots of research.

If you can’t find your family members or are not in touch with them over some period of time, it may be a little bit more difficult to fill in the blanks in your family tree. However, with tools like www.ancestry.com, www.familysearch.com, www.rootsweb.com, and www.usgenweb.com, things are much easier than before.

So, go ahead and have some fun creating your family tree now!!

Bored? During Our Current Pandemic Situation – Check Out These Hobby Ideas

Have you ever played one too many computer games or watched one too many old reruns?  You just can't get into another mystery and you just feel flat?  Maybe you are suffering from boredom, that familiar accompaniment to our automated, precooked lifestyles.  If so, you need to check out these hobby ideas.  Hobbies have been found to be therapeutic as they relieve stress and get the mind active.  In this article, you'll find hobby ideas for every sort of person, from the intellectual to the athlete, from the homemaker to the attorney.
Many times we are bored because we have become too inactive.  If this is your problem, you might like a sports hobby.  Have you ever tried tennis?  How about golf?  Many people simply love bowling until it becomes an important part of their lives.  Sports hobbies get you out of the house and often are a way to make friends with others.  Then again, some active hobbies can be enjoyed in our own homes, such as weight lifting and doing aerobic dance to a video.

Speaking of aerobic dance, dancing is another great pastime.  When you think of hobby ideas, don't forget the many forms of dance.  Square dancing is fun for people who like getting together with groups, while ballet and modern dance appeal to the more contemplative souls.  And while we're on contemplation, you might enjoy doing yoga stretches as a hobby.

Maybe we're feeling bored and listless because we've been cooped up in the house too long.  If that's the problem, here are a few hobby ideas to get you out in the fresh air.  Have you ever thought of taking up canoeing, hiking, or trapping?  How about getting involved with an environmental group?  In many states, you can form groups to clean riverbanks and monitor water quality, and the state will provide perks such as t-shirts, work gloves, and first-aid kits.  Or maybe you'd like studying the flora and fauna of your region.  It can be great fun to stroll through the woods and fields with a field guide, learning to identify each wildflower, insect, tree, and bird.

There are lots of different hobbies you could partake in and one that I would suggest and recommend is researching your family tree. Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the US and around the world. 

Once you undertake the hobby of genealogy and get involved in the community you will discover more about yourself. You will find ancestors you never knew you had and will be able connect to many distant cousins. There is nothing like discovering your mother's or father's family and discovering distant ancestors.
There are almost as many hobby ideas as there are bored people in the world, because everyone puts their own spin on their favorite hobbies.  Maybe you'd enjoy decorating your house with antiques, or learning to bake specialty breads from around the World.  Maybe you'd like to take part in a little theatre production, or learn to play guitar.  What about the fine arts of weaving tapestries or painting with oils?  Candle making, soap making, and many other old-time crafts are being enjoyed again.  

The Internet has grown substantially over the last 15 years and maybe you want create a website to provide information ot sell items in your store. Truly, with all these hobby ideas, there is no reason to stay bored for long!

Why Research Genealogy?

Genealogy is having an informed knowledge of your past and leaving a worthwhile legacy for future generations.

This project came about while I was researching my family genealogy. It is important for us all to leave a legacy to our children, grandchildren and future generations.

My main intent is compiling a Family Record or ‘Saga’ so that it can be available for family members and handed down from generation to generation. It is also a place for new genealogists to come and get different search stategy ideas to help them in their building their family trees.

Discovering Your Past through Photos

There are treasures in our attics – respect and be proud of our ancestors. The surname of ‘Gibbs’ comes from an honourable and ancient name dating back to the Norman conquest.

Tracing our family tree started off as a hobby until I got involved in our ancestors lives and finding out that they were a part of me. We come mainly from an ancestral background of agricultural labourers and farmers dating back centuries. Each of our families are different in the research of their respective family trees. We all have different and unique surnames. We have two parents, a mother and father with separate surnames; they in turn have a mother and father with different surnames.

The further back you go in researching your family tree the more you will be amazed of what you have uncovered of your ancestors past. If we went back generations to our 15th Great Grandparents we would theoretically have a total of 131,072 ancestors and that’s if there was no cross-linking.

Considering the amount of ancestors that we have then consider this – each grandparent had a number of children and their children had children and so forth. How many relatives would be have? The total number would be staggering and I wouldn’t want to guess, but trying to research through ancestry is a possibility.

History has always fascinated me and years ago my mother got me interested in our family tree which in itself is ‘History’ – our family history. Genealogy research has been around for thousands of years so why hasn’t anyone really kept any good reliable records on our tree? Each culture is different and before the invention of writing, people around the globe recorded their family trees in interesting and various methods. Ancient civilizations used ingenious methods of keeping records and passed them down throughout the generations from one family to the next.

Before the discovery and invention of the written word, records were probably kept by the eldest family member who meticulously tied knots on a rope or with other objects. Why did different cultures tie knots the way they did?   Individual groups did it for identifying different events or meanings. Knots tied in various fashions was a detailed methodology that had baffled archaeologists at one time.

Early Vikings did not write down their stories but had to remember them and then pass them down to their children. They told their stories through songs – sagas that were recited from epic battles during wars and other adventures telling and then re-telling their historical tales.

The Chinese on the other hand are the true masters of genealogy. They kept very detailed genealogical written records of clan and branch genealogies to family records or annals. The earliest known record dates back to around 1500 BC when they inscribed family trees on turtle shells and cow bones.

I am going to mainly concentrate my research with my direct ancestors and their family surnames. The surnames of Gibbs, Walling, Cross and Martin. There will also be data, photos and more passed on from other extended families as well.

I will attempt to go back as far as I can with the information that I have available and through online resources. The research of my family tree will be an ongoing project.

If you are interested in undertaking a genealogy project with goals and see it succeed then I will help as much as I can in assisting you on your journey. Getting information from your living relatives will be important to get as much information as you can.

Download the FREE checklist of the “22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree”

I also have a podcast called ’22 Steps Podcast” for everyone that will provide information on the necessary steps to take in your family tree research. Lots of info with website links to further your search on relatives. There are 5 episodes available to listen to on various apps.


Hover over the episode below to goto directly to Podbean and listen to an episode! 

Episode 001 – The Introduction

Episode 002 – The First Three Steps

Episode 003, Step 4 – Online Genealogy Websites

Episode 004 – Step 5 – Why you should join an online forum?

gallery/small cover gibbs musings (1.1)
Family Newsletter – Ist Edition of Gibbs Musings

Starting your own newsletter is a awesome project for you to start if you have the time and resources available to provide to your family. I started a family newsletter called ‘Gibbs Musings’ to pass on genealogical data on families I have been researching to assist other family historians in completing their trees. I find what I have provided quite rewarding and helpful.

The aim of the website will be a great resource of information for new genealogists to get resources, free and paid website links to help you in your ancestral research using different research strategies.

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Learn to Set Goals When Researching Your Genealogy

There are those who are bounded by laws and rules, yet success is too distant for them. On the other hand, there are those who appears to be easy going people but are successful. Think you have what it takes to be like them? Or would you rather do something different to achieve the elusive success? Take heart and set your goals. Learn to set goals while you research your family tree and set priorities.

What do goals represent by the way? These are actually representations of your visions about future research. Goals should be achievable and realistic. These kinds of goals allow you to put them into practice or at least do some activities that allow you to monitor your progress. However, more is involved in just merely setting realistic goals. Remember that in order to achieve your goals, you must act according to your goals. Otherwise, all else would be vanity if you do not exert effort in reaching them. The following will help you set achievable goals:

1. Enhance your skills in achieving targeted goals by setting objectives, as well as standard and optional activities that will help you meet your goals.

2. Strategize and take risks in meeting your goals. Strategic thinking is very important because this will allow you to be productive and focus on the activities according to your goals.

3. Act in accordance to your goals. Proper mind setting is very important in achieving your goals. Take the extra mile. Try taking risks but never compromise your safety. Taking risks means that you are ready to learn new things and challenges that will help you in the long run.

On one hand, you may wonder why there is a need for you to set goals if you think you have not failed at all in your endeavours. Remember that setting goals does not mean that you always fail. Setting goals means that you are acknowledging your limitations and you are ready to work your way up towards success, professionally or personally. It is for this reason why objective goals matter.

Moving forward, you also have to consider that there are goals that are just too hard to achieve on your own. At times, these goals even create conflicts that you might think of surrendering in the long run. Take heart. Everybody have similar concerns at times. If this situation occurs and you think that surrendering is the last option, why not look for a partner, a friend maybe who is willing to help you out with your goals? Collaborate with your prospective partner and learn to prioritize. If it requires spending time in plotting all the possibilities, both the pros and cons, try it.

Set some goals in your early genealogy research and make sure they are realistic and achievable:

  1. Researching details about your ancestors and discovering stories from an ancestry website such as Ancestry.com or MyHeritage.com and online newspapers
  2. Progressing on distant relatives in your family tree finding out the names and key dates for your direct ancestors
  3. Exploring DNA and following up on relationship matches from potential distant cousins through matches
  4. Taking a genealogy course developing your research skills. Look for free resources first to hone your knowledge and skills
  5. Start a journal on each family unit to assist you when you compile your ancestry charts
  6. Create a habit of researching on a daily or weekly basis

Remember that goal setting is focused on your benefits. So try working things out and focus, focus, and focus. Minimize or avoid distractions if possible so you can work your goals better. Work that proper mindset for a clearer vision of you achieving those valuable goals. If you are vying for promotion in your workplace, it is important that you see yourself already in the position you want. If you are aiming for a personal or educational goal, make things happen by planning and doing things related to your goals. You will then realize that goals, no matter how difficult they may appear, are still valuable to consider. Once your goals are achieved, sweet success knocks on your door commending you for a job well done.