What is Genealogy
Tid Bits
Tips and Gotcha's
Top ten myths
Top ten reasons to do it
Just for Fun
Getting Started
An exercise using a pedigree
Paperwork organization
Preserving your records
Labeling your records
Maps and geography
Old style dates
Old style handwriting
Tombstone reading
Calculating relationships
Family reunions
PC Software
Genealogical Programs
Genealogical Numbering Systems
Family Group Sheet form
GEDCOM format
Descendancy report
Ahnentafel report
Recap and Statistics
The data pyramid
Source Documents
Record types
Vital and primary records
Manuscript archives
Censuses and the soundex
Actual examples
Where to Look
Where to do your research
Kansas City area research
U.S. GenWeb
Recent immigrants
Ellis Island
African American
Native American
Hispanic American
Recommended web sites
Certified professionals
Genealogical publishers/sellers
Recommended books
Publishing your family history
Forms to use
Dewey Decimal system
Homework assignment

Tidbits about Genealogy

Genealogy is often considered to be one of the top three hobbies in the world, along with coin collecting and stamp collecting. Coins and stamps are issued by governments, usually countries. Genealogy is all about people along with the records kept by numerous entities, including governments.

Old saying: You choose your friends and your spouse, but your neighbors and your family tree are chosen for you.

Think of your family history as a jigsaw puzzle. It has thousands and thousands of pieces. You know it looks like a tree but you do not get to see exactly what the entire puzzle looks like.

Some benefits of genealogy

  • Promotes "family"
  • Vacation trips sometimes become expeditions and safaris to “exotic places” such as cemeteries, court houses, libraries, archives, town halls, and old churches
  • Gives you an easy topic to start a conversation with any of your relatives
  • Is appreciated by your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, etc. for assisting their school assignment to do their family tree
  • Expands on many of the subjects you learned in school, some of which you may not have previously enjoyed, such as:

  • history anthropology project management
    geography mathematics problem and mystery solving
    law philosophy handwriting deciphering
    medicine researching genetics and microbiology

The good news about genealogy

  • There is tons of information and research help aids out there
  • There are thousands of wonderful people out there who will gladly help you
  • You can put as little or as much effort into it as you wish
  • You can drop it and pick it back up at any time
  • You'll meet cousins (second, third, fourth, tenth) you never knew you had
  • You'll probably find that you have a huge extended family
  • You will become known within your extended family for something that is a positive thing
  • Genealogy works best when you are willing to share your information with others. You will probably find that you generally get back more than you give.

The bad news about genealogy

  • The information is not all in one place --- YET! It is scattered in court houses, cemeteries, town halls, museums, archives, libraries, churches, private homes, computer hard drives, and in the brains of your relatives
  • There is a lot of bad/incorrect/faulty genealogy out there, so always question and verify everything
  • There is no known cure for the terminal disease called “the genealogy bug”. Symptoms include:
    • planning vacation trips that include visits to cemeteries, libraries, court houses, town halls, and archives – and worst of all, you actually look forward to taking the trip
    • talking to your relatives more often, some of whom you’ve never spoken to before
    • finding yourself in libraries more often
    • spending a lot of time at genealogical web sites
    • getting excited each time you discover a new ancestor to put onto your family tree
  • You will never finish -- there is always more that can be found and/or learned. Your task is to gather, and organize, what you can so you can pass it on to future generations. Then let them deal with those hardest-to-find ancestors.

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Copyright © 2004- by Larry Wilson, all rights reserved