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Researching family history can be surprising! Sometimes families pass stories down from generation to generation, but then through research sometimes we find those stories were wrong. Maybe some of the stories are simple misunderstandings, false information, or gossip someone made up because they had nothing better to do. More than likely, we will never know how the stories got started, but with time, hard work, and care we can make corrections and maybe clear blemishes left on an innocent soul.
For example, when I was very young I heard a horrible story about my great grandfather. They said he murdered a man and out of fear, he left his wife and children, moved to a different state, changed his name and started a new family. When I first started researching family history, my grandfather was one of my first subjects. I found census records, marriage records, and his death record. I traced his life from the time he was eight months old up until his death. His name never changed and he had the same wife and children throughout his adult life. The story was interesting, but far from the truth. I was glad to clear his bad name.
We might discover we are wrong about several things while researching family history. For instance, sometimes we might think they are of English descent, but after tracing our roots, find out we are of German or Irish decent. Sometimes, we find out about an unknown marriage or of the unfortunate deaths of children long forgotten. Maybe we’ll find that we came from a line of very wealthy or famous people, and now and then, we find infamous people.
I have been researching family history for over seven years. I have done several trees - some for my husband, and myself and some for others. My specialty is West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, but I have strayed outside these states as well. I have collected old family photos, old census records, and anything I can get my hands on. To me, each one is equally important.
Records typically used in genealogy or family research include, but are not limited to:
- birth records
- death records
- marriage and divorce records
- census records
- Baptism or christening
- Bar or Bat Mitzvah
- Funeral or death
- City directories and telephone directories
- Court, Criminal, and Civil records
- Diaries, personal letters, and family Bibles
- Emigration, immigration and naturalization records
- Ship Passenger Lists
- Hereditary & Lineage Organization Records (ex. Daughters of the American Revolution records)
- Land and Property Records, Deeds
- Tax Records
- Social Security and Pension Records
- Military and Conscription (draft) Records
- Newspaper articles
- Cemetery Records
- Funeral Home Records
- Wills and Probate Records
Please use this site as a FREE resource to build up your family tree. I will offer any free resource that I feel is worthy of mentioning and I will add tips and articles as I can. It would be a pleasure knowing I helped someone. I know how wonderful it is to uncover family history and get a look into the past.
Professional Family Trees offers paid services as well. If you are interested in having your family tree researched or if you only need help locating a particular piece of information, please feel free to contact me with your information and questions and I'll get back to you as soon as possible with a price.
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