Beginner genealogy tips

If you are interested in genealogy and do not know where to start a couple of tips will help you coordinate your actions in genealogy searches. So, let’s begin.

  • It’s impossible to remember everything, all the facts must be recorded with the source and put in envelopes and folders. Later, copies of documents, photographs and archival certificates will be sent there, but this is later. Even if you are a cool computer person and are going to scan and store everything on your computer, you need a paper archive.
  • At home, revise old documents and photographs. Documents that contain genealogical information – Birth certificates, Marriage certificates, Divorce certificates, Death certificates, Passports, Labor books, certificates, certificates, certificates, letters, diplomas, order books, military tickets. Pay attention to names, dates, place of residence, family ties. Remove all photocopies from all documents. Put everything relating to the paternal line in one folder, and the maternal line in another. For each person – a separate envelope. When receiving new information, do not forget to lay it out. Subsequently, you have to set the task to get to the family archives of relatives and copy everything that is relevant.
  • Make an inventory of all collected papers, that is, a list and a brief summary of them. Number the envelopes in which the paper is located.

But now there is already the opportunity to prepare for communication with relatives.

For most people, relatives are not interested in genealogy and family ties, they do not want to cooperate, they do not provide any documents…

Many genealogical studies ended at this very stage.

Go with a notebook or cards and pester all relatives with questions. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles about everything that they remember. Ask residents of other cities by letters, and preferably by phone and e-mail. Prepare a list of questions, and think up such that they could not be answered monosyllabically. Question: “Do you remember what the grandfather’s parents called?” – it’s not good, it’s very easy to get the answer “No”. Even the question: “What do you remember about your grandfather’s parents?” – not too good, you can get the answer: “Nothing!”. The question should be answered so that it is answered as long as possible, so you first need to ask about the grandfather himself, about his character, about what he told about his childhood, and if he didn’t tell, then why, and then gradually switch to his to parents. If you still get a monosyllabic answer, try to clarify: “Why?”
Since each family is unique, you cannot create a list of questions that is suitable for everyone. But here are some topics that can be discussed.
Are there any traditional family names? What abbreviations were the names of their ancestors and relatives, and where did they come from?
Has the family moved from place to place, how many years has the family been living in this place, are there any family traditions associated with the place of residence, objects brought back from the old place? What were the oldest things in the house when your interlocutor was small? Are there any heirlooms? Is there any story related to them? Who is depicted in old photographs? Who, when and for what reason took these photographs? Are there any old documents?
Were there any traditions in the family that eventually disappeared or changed? What were they and where did they come from? How did the family celebrate the holidays? In what cases did the whole family gather? What did they do, what did they talk about? If this has stopped, then why? Whom did the family respect and pay special respect to him? Were there any violators of the family, people whom you didn’t love, were afraid of, or those whose connection was lost?
Are there any family characteristics of speaking, family jokes and words incomprehensible to others?
Are there any bright cases from the lives of parents, grandparents, earlier ancestors, any relatives. Are there any legends about family ties with some colorful personalities and celebrities? Are there any stories about neighbors and acquaintances? How did your ancestors meet and get married?
Are there any special family dishes? Have any recipes been handed down from generation to generation? Where did they come from, how and why did they change over time? Was there any traditional festive food? Does the family have any food related stories?
How was the family influenced by various historical events? Who in the family suffered or committed a heroic act? Does the family have any rewards? What kind of marriages could not have taken place if not for some historical event?

It is best to start with some simple question that you can answer without thinking – about the time and place of birth, or about some story previously told to you by this person.

When the conversation comes to an end, look at your list of questions, maybe during the conversation you did not touch on any topic. If the interlocutor is tired, do not insist on the continuation, arrange for the next meeting. Experience shows that the normal duration of a conversation is one to two hours.
Having returned home, put in order the notes, organize everything that you have learned, especially note what will help you in your further search, but it is not subject to disclosure. Be sure to write down from whose story you gathered information, when and under what circumstances.

A bit of genealogical terminology:

In an ascending genealogy, they start from a specific person, then go up the steps or knees to their father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., from the known to the unknown.

In a descending lineage, they start from the most distant known ancestor and gradually pass on to the descendants.

Male descending genealogy indicates all the progeny of the ancestor, descended only from men, indicating the name of their spouses.

The Male ascendant lineage looks like a line, as only one male ancestor is shown in each generation. There is only one surname in male pedigrees.

Mixed descending lineage shows all the offspring of a given ancestor, regardless of gender.

Mixed ascendant lineage shows all male and female ancestors. There is one person in the first knee, two in the second, four in the third, eight in the fourth, etc. exponentially, and each person belongs to a different genus, so that representatives of eight different surnames are present in the fourth, for example, tribe.

Good luck in finding.