7/19/10

Family history


My great-great-great grandmother Louise Thérèse G.


You may have noticed I've been missing online lately. It's because I've been doing family history. Lately indexing old records and searching for my ancestors has been more exciting to me than blogging.

Here are my favorite resources:

  • New FamilySearch for keeping track of my family tree. This site, sponsored by the LDS church, allows you to sign in and enter your own ancestors (you don't have to be a member to use it). If you're lucky, you'll tie into a large family tree within a few generations. I love how we can all help each other and work together using this program.
  • FamilySearch for looking for ancestors. More information is being added all the time via the indexing project I linked to above. 
  • Ancestry.com for looking for ancestors. This site is the best resource for indexed, searchable records, especially within the United States. The downside is that you have to pay to access most of them, and it's not cheap. In my family, my mom has a subscription, and we ask her to do searches for us. 
  •  Archives de France for looking for French ancestors, especially if you have approximate dates and locations to begin with. The page that I've linked to is just a big list of links to the different départements and communes who have their records online. They're not all searchable, but the records are so well kept and have handwritten yearly and ten-year indexes, so it's really not so bad after you get used to things.
I've learned how to read a French birth record (that's what all those years of French in school were for!) and I'm slowly picking up tips to help me search more effectively.


It was really overwhelming at the beginning, because there's so much to find out, and the family gets so very big the farther back you go. It helped me a lot when my mom assigned me a specific line to narrow things down.

It seems so often that I'm stuck and there's nothing more I can do, and then I'll go and click around in my family tree a bit and find a different branch with a lead that I can work on. That's why it's so addicting to me: there's always something more to do.

Do you do family history? What resources do you use?

6 comments:

  1. Thanks to you, I mostly use Family Search :o) I can't use New FamilySearch yet because I'm not a member. Through my local library, I use HeritageQuest to view census records. To keep records, I use Family Tree Maker. I wish I could afford an Ancestry account. According to something I found online, though, my library has an account for it that I can use when there.

    The thing I hate most is finding common ancestors and not being able to link them. For example, *B* and I are 25th cousins. I can't link the people in his line to the ones in mine. So all that finger-breaking typing needs to be redone for the other line.

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  2. My mother went on one of those family history sites once, and got pretty angry at it, because the one hit she got for her father suggested that he was married before my grandmother, and had other children.
    It's possible that the site was telling the truth, but you know how old people are- they don't talk about stuff that happened, and if you suggested you're in big trouble.

    As for me, I have always been curious about my great grandparents and beyond. But any questions I ever had were brushed off with "They were probably all illiterate." Family history for me would reuire going to Greece and reading old dusty public records. I doubt there's anything online.

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  3. i'm trying to do my family history too! i'm excited about all the new sites that are coming out. i was playing around on the beta site for family search yesterday... the problem i have is trying to do one of my husband's lines. i just can't seem to verify if they are the right people or not... any tips?

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  4. I was watching a really interesting show on PBS called "Faces of America" where they traced family histories. They traced one woman's history right back to Charlemagne! I hope you have lots of success with your genealogy!

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  5. Very interesting!

    Most of my ancestors were French as well. And Swiss. They came through Canada to MI.

    Isn't it so interesting to learn the different histories and hear the stories!

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  6. Stacey, I'm stuck on a line too, and all I can do is wait and hope that some day the records I need become available to me, or that something will turn up. It's so hard when you find a person and then aren't sure if it's the right one. I have the best luck finding multiple records and seeing if there are any clues that can definitively link that person to your family line. Birth records and marriages are my favorites because they tend to have more family names, and censuses are great too although sometimes not terribly accurate. It shows who was living where, though.

    I'm a beginner, though; not an expert, so I don't have much good advice to offer. I hope you find what you're looking for!

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