Simple guide to help you retrace your family tree

There are many sites on the internet now dedicated to the growing hobby of genealogy. However tracing a family tree isn’t just a matter of going through the births, marriages and deaths, using such sites as [Ancestry.com][1] it

is also important to remember all the other possible sources of information. In the U.S. for example where many people are third, fourth or fifth generation citizens, if your predecessors arrived before 1954 they will have gone through [Ellis Island][2], it is now possible to check these records online, which as well as giving you the exact date of arrival on American soil, will also tell you who they travelled with; possibly now long forgotten relatives, but also from which port they deported and also the town from where they originated. If your ancestors came from Great Britain don’t forget that their census goes back to the early 19th century, to trace you family back before this there are also church records, which although can be a little piece-meal due to the turbulent history there; in some cases they go back almost to the Domesday Book. Military records are also an important and very interesting source of information, as many along with the expected details of service will also give insights such as a physical description, what they did, for example did they play an instrument in the band? Knowing your history can be a big advantage in putting things into context and also in giving clues where to look. Great Britain transported criminals to their colonies which once included parts of what are now know as New England. The Irish potato famine in the 1840’s saw a huge influx of Irish immigrants in the mid to late 19thC. Various Wars including the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18thC and early 19thC saw people arrive from all over northern Europe and of course both world wars saw even greater numbers arrive on American soil. Another interesting source of information can be local newspapers which may mention your ancestor, not only in the obituaries, but maybe also in court reports, or even advertisements for stores, professions or even on a vaudeville notice. Whatever you discover your ancestors did, remember that there is probably some sort of record of this activity, it’s just a case of finding it. [1]: http://www.ancestry.com/ [2]: http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger

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