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 you get, the more important your ancestry becomes.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I have a broader perspective on things now.  Maybe I’m just curious as to whether there was nobility in my family.  Perhaps I’m looking for some closet skeletons.  

Whatever my reasons, I do find tracing my ancestry fascinating.  It is so 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.

So here I’ve compiled a list of 25 resources you should take advantage of if you’re really serious about finding out “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 live
  • 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
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