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Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No. 43 -October 2010.

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1. Our welcome message.

2. Featured Article – Genealogy’s Most Popular Disbeliefs Author: Bob Brooke

3. News from One Great Family - Check this item for news of a great discount!

4. Next Months Featured Article: Account for your Lifetime - Time in My Pocket by Michael R. Boyter

1. Our welcome message.

It's the fourth anniversary of your favourite newsletter, the first issue being October 2006. What is pleasing for me is that very few subscribers leave, which I hope means that most of you enjoy this monthly page. Don't forget this is YOUR newsletter and if you have a story to tell/share - whether it's just a couple of lines or a whole page, then send it in. Here's the contact details. We'd love to hear from you.

Talking of anniversaries, Carol and I have just celebrated our Silver! at Frankie and Benny's of all places (New York style Italian restaurant). We had a brilliant evening with my Mother; and the rest of the family...we took up almost half the restaurant!

Another great article by Bob Brooke this month and a great discount for Family History Month from 'OneGreatFamily'

See you next time

2. Genealogy’s Most Popular Disbeliefs. Author: Bob Brooke

If you're just starting out on your quest for your ancestors, you may get sidetracked by some of the disbeliefs about it. Don't believe everything you hear.

Some people will tell you that genealogy is easy. Hearing this, you come to believe that all the records out there are perfect. All you have to do is find the ones that apply to your family and record the information. Right? Well, it isn't quite that simple. If it were, there wouldn't be any need for genealogy libraries and societies.

You may also hear the opposite–genealogy is extremely difficult and time consuming. This can be true for certain people. Those who've been adopted, for instance, often have a difficult time tracing anyone they're related to until they discover who were their birth parents. People living in locations ravaged by war or political unrest may find that most, if not all, records have been destroyed. During the Cultural Revolution in China, Mao Se Tung ordered all the genealogical records in towns and villages destroyed as a way of making a break with the past. Some residents had the foresight to bury their records for safekeeping. Some, like indigenous people in Brazil, had no written records until the 1840s, thus no way to trace their families. However, most people, including yourself, most likely have some sort of family records to sift through. And let's face it, if genealogy were that hard, you wouldn't be reading this column.

Many people believe that if they collect as much information as they can for everyone with the same last name, they'll eventually find what they need to connect members of their family. While this may work for those who have a unique surname, it doesn't for those with a common last name like Smith–the most common name in the United States. You can, of course, collect names from a particular time period and locality where you know your ancestors lived, but anything else is a waste of time.

Another disbelief is that you only need to record the information you need. While you should certainly do that, you also need to make note of where you did your searches, even if you got nothing from them. Chances are very good that you'll end up searching those same sources again unless you make a note of them.

Are there legends about past relatives floating around your family? Too many beginning genealogists rely too heavily on the information contained in these family legends. Most of the time they've been passed down from generation to generation. And since it's usually an older relative who becomes the caretaker of the legend, it seems likely that it's true because most people respect the elder members of their families. You need to prove if a legend is, in fact, true. Generally, these legends have their origins in fact, but over time have become twisted towards making the person or persons involved and your family appear better than they really are, thus leading you in the wrong direction.

Some beginners also believe that if they begin with a distant ancestor with the same last name, especially if that person if famous, then work forward to the present that they'll be able to tie that person to their family. This, too, is usually a waste a time. Follow the logic of genealogy by beginning with what you know and working backwards.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that all records are correct. Nothing can be father from the truth. Many compiled records have lots of mistakes in them, especially if someone transcribed them from old handwriting. It's important to always research original records or copies of them whenever you can.

Since the arrival of the Internet and genealogy software, too many beginning genealogists believe that they can do all their research online. After all, aren't everyone's records somewhere in cyberspace? Remember the thrill of finding your first ancestor through a Web site? The majority of beginners believe that if they search long enough that they'll eventually find all their ancestors. But the biggest problem you'll have is proving it. Unless you can track down the actual records and create your own paper trail, you cannot be sure that whoever posted the information online did a thorough job of researching it.

Even if some or all of these disbeliefs have led you astray, don't give up. With diligence and hard work, you'll eventually find the information you need to grow your family tree.


About Bob Brooke

Everyday Genealogy is a monthly column that delves into the historical side of genealogy, focusing on family history, long-lost occupations, historical misconceptions, and profiles of top genealogical libraries, as well as offering tips on how beginning genealogists can use history to their advantage.

To learn more about Bob Brooke, visit his Web site at BobBrooke.com. And be sure to visit his other sites: TheAntiquesAlmanac.com, TheRealMexico.net and AllScandinavia.com.

3. OneGreatFamily 20% Discount

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OneGreatFamily is more than a simple collection of different family trees. Using breakthrough technology, OneGreatFamily is actually linking all of the family trees together into one great family.

What This Means To You:

With the world working together on one family tree, each individual is able to leverage the effort and research of all OneGreatFamily users rather than wasting time duplicating research that others have already done.

How It Works:

After you enter what you already know about your ancestors, we begin searching for more of your ancestors. Once our search process starts, it never stops.

A genealogist can only search for information about one ancestor at a time. The OneGreatFamily automated search engine continually looks for additional information and relatives for every one of your ancestors at the same time.
As OneGreatFamily members add new individuals, our search process checks to see if any of them are your ancestors. Even if we find some of your ancestors today, we may find more in a week, a month, or a year.

Once we find new information about your ancestors, we notify you by email and when you login to OneGreatFamily. You can see the new information about your ancestors in your family tree.

As we continue to search for your ancestors, you can review the ancestors we added, add new ancestors yourself, and collaborate with others who are looking for your ancestors too. OneGreatFamily offers a unique genealogy experience that will help you enjoy the journey and the results.

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4. Next Months Featured Article:

 Account for your Lifetime - Time in My Pocket by Michael R. Boyter

"My mind races back, franticly. A feeling of defeated comes over me, as I try to retrace where all the money went! What follows is a sunken feeling, often accompanied by a big bought of depression. How could I let so much of it get away from me? I sit and wonder where it all has gone.

Consider now the years in your lifetime and compare them to the money in the above story. Can you see any comparisons?

It an awful feeling when you cannot account completely for all the years you've lived. Where have all the years gone?"

I really hope you enjoyed this months newsletter. And in case you forgot earlier - Please sign the  Guestbook.

Jim. Editor

PS. Please forward this newsletter to your friends/relatives if they are interested in family history, with our compliments.

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P.S. I hope you are not offended by the advertisements on this site. I get a small commission from some of them which helps towards the cost of my hosting and domain fees. Sometimes I make a little extra. In fact I've worked out that if the 'little extra' grows at around the same rate, I should be able to retire when I'm 129 years old :-)


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