The Evolution of Genealogy Research Techniques

Genealogy, the study of one’s family history, has been a popular pastime for centuries. With the advent of technology and the internet, genealogy research has become easier and more accessible than ever before. The techniques and tools used for genealogy research have changed dramatically over the years, making it possible for people to learn more about their ancestors and build a comprehensive family tree.

From Manuscripts to Microfilms

In the past, genealogy research was primarily done through handwritten manuscripts and church records. These records were often kept by local priests and were used to record births, deaths, and marriages. The records were usually written in Latin, making it difficult for non-Latin speaking individuals to access them. In the 19th century, the creation of microfilms revolutionized genealogy research. Microfilms made it possible to preserve records in a format that was much easier to access, and they could be shipped to libraries and archives around the world.

The Advent of Computers

With the advent of computers, genealogy research took a big leap forward. In the 1980s, genealogy software programs became available, allowing users to enter their family tree information into a computer and easily store and manipulate the data. These programs made it possible for genealogists to organize their research, create charts and graphs, and even print out family trees. This was a major improvement over the previous method of manually creating family trees on paper.

The Rise of the Internet

The rise of the internet has been the biggest game changer for genealogy research. In the 1990s, online genealogy databases started appearing, providing access to millions of records from around the world. This made it possible for genealogists to access records from the comfort of their own homes, without having to travel to archives or libraries. The internet also made it possible for genealogists to collaborate and share information with others, leading to a huge increase in the amount of information available to researchers.

The Use of DNA Testing

In recent years, the use of DNA testing has become an important tool in genealogy research. There are several different types of DNA tests available, including Y-DNA tests, mtDNA tests, and autosomal DNA tests. Y-DNA tests are used to trace a male’s paternal line, while mtDNA tests trace a female’s maternal line. Autosomal DNA tests are used to trace both the maternal and paternal lines. These tests can help genealogists identify distant relatives, fill in gaps in their family trees, and validate previously discovered information.

Social Media and Genealogy

Social media has also played a big role in the evolution of genealogy research. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have made it possible for genealogists to connect with others who are researching the same families or locations. This has led to a huge increase in the amount of information available to researchers, as well as the creation of online communities where genealogists can share information and help each other with their research.


The evolution of genealogy research techniques has been remarkable. From handwritten manuscripts to DNA testing, the tools and techniques used for genealogy research have changed dramatically over the years. The rise of the internet and social media has made it easier and more accessible than ever before to research one’s family history. With the continued advancements in technology, it is likely that the field of genealogy research will continue to evolve and provide genealogists with even more tools and resources in the future.


Published by Darrell Gibbs

A father of three children and five grandchildren who retired in 2015 and began a career as a non-fiction writer in genealogy resource ebooks for new family historians. Aspiring towards the future as a Historical Fiction Author of his premier book "Wessex Reign".

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