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Genealogy: A Guide to Creating Your

By James A. McKane - © 2008 ==================================================================================

Beginning How Tombstone Photography ==================================================================================

Sound of MusicBeginning: Like in the Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning!” As in any other endeavour, to be successful you need to develop a plan. Plans for most projects should begin with the basic Five Ws – Who, What, When, Where, Why followed by How. The answers to some of these are fairly obvious. Click Here for an excellent video for beginners.

Why – because you are now interested in learning more about your heritage or ancestry. However, a deeper reason will come to light as you work on your genealogy! You will soon find yourself wondering many times, “Why didn’t she, they, or even I ask Uncle Joe before he passed away?” or “Why didn’t they record some of their family history for us? or “Where could all those photographs have gone?” These are just a few of the very many reasons for recording your genealogy and family history. Personally, if only one of my ancestors had recorded just a tiny bit of information 150 years ago, I would know where my family connected to Ireland and to whom they connected!

When – it would seem that “Now” would be the logical answer. Of course, a whole genealogy cannot be completed now! However, you most certainly can begin now and work on it over the next many years.

Where – would most likely refer to where you are actually going to work on recording the information that youHome Office develop with your research. For much of your basic recording and transcribing of facts, almost any office-type working environment would be best. This would allow for an organized work area with the necessary tools, which will be more thoroughly discussed later. Genealogy is not an easy nor is it a simple task, even though some portions of the process will be quite easy. Therefore, there will be very definite periods of time where you will require an area, which provides peace and quiet to facilitate an adequate level of concentration.

What – your genealogy! According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Genealogy is: - “1) an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms 2) regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor or older form 3) the study of family pedigrees 4) an account of the origin and historical development of something.” This bare definition is not really very useful unless you also define what information is necessary to complete an accurate and acceptable account.

The basic information required consists of the dates of birth, christening, marriage, death and burial along with the locations of these events. From this beginning, a genealogy may be expanded into as much detail as desired. It may be desirable to include information about the life history, medical records, and GPS co-ordinates of the locations of events of the subject. The life history can include everything from details of the birth, to education, to special achievements, to work history and even retirement events.

McKane Family c.1908Who – seems rather obvious – your ancestors! However, the scope of which lineage of your ancestor can be a broad or as narrow as you wish. For example, you may wish to narrow your quest to only your direct paternal ancestors or in the broadest scope, every line of your ancestry along with every ancestor’s complete family including their siblings and their descendants. The best place to begin is by recording the information for your own family; then your family’s descendants and then work your way back through your family’s ancestors. You will find the task easier if you work back through each ancestral line as far as possible rather than jumping around in your pedigree from one line to another – i.e. paternal line to maternal line or such.

How – the how of recording and researching your genealogy is the most difficult part of the task. No matter how much information you develop on your ancestry and how many years you work on it, there will always be more ancestors and more details to find. You must recognize from the beginning that you are starting a life-long quest that will never and can never be completed!


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