Imagine tracing your roots back for generations, going back a hundred years or more. It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? In the past, only nobility could trace their roots back that far, but thanks to modern technology and the resources available to us, we can discover our ancestors and find out more about ourselves in the process.
Many retirees, in independent living facilities and elsewhere, are discovering genealogy. In fact, genealogy is one of the fastest-growing hobbies (after gardening) and for a good reason. It is fascinating to know where we came from, who “our people” are, what makes us who we are today. It helps us to understand ourselves, and we help future generations by keeping memories alive and passing our knowledge down to our children and grandchildren.
There are many resources available to start your search, and some are listed below:
Family Search www.familysearch.com
Find a Grave www.findagrave.com
World GenWeb Project www.worldgenweb.org
National Archives www.nationalarchives.gov
Geneology Today www.geneologytoday.com
Access Geneology www.accessgeneology.com
Family Tree Searcher www.familytreesearcher.com
Castle Garden http://castlegarden.org/
Browse through these websites and choose the one that appeals to you.
If you happen to live in an independent living community in the Houston area, be sure to check out the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. They host lectures and events periodically, and it is a great way to meet others who are interested in genealogy.
Start constructing your family tree. List your siblings and parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents as far back as you can go. Talk to some of the oldest members of your family and take careful notes of names, dates, and places of birth. Plug these names, birthplaces, and birthdates into the search box of one of the sites listed above and be prepared to be amazed. There are census records, medical records, hospital records, army records, marriage records, etc. All of these life events are registered somewhere, and the data is searchable.
Once all your research is complete, type up your notes, include photographs, certificates, maps and other mementos, and put together a binder with your family history. Better yet, self-publish it, and share the final product with family members. You will leave a legacy for future generations, which will help them form a sense of identity and family pride.
You may also like: