Explore Your Family History
Sometimes the basic building blocks of genealogy can work against you. The variation in surname and place-name spelling and bits and pieces of family stories passed down the generations can be like Lego blocks that just won’t fit together. It’s said that it can be difficult to ‘do genealogy’ but really it takes no more than common sense, tenacity, a good notebook (physical or digital) and an investigative mind. Mixing all of this with a little bit of context means that by the end of the day, you have a family tree that is accurate and most importantly, relevant to your family.
To cut through the maze, it’s important to start with yourself and work back. In that way, you will be searching for records that document what has already happened. A marriage can lead to the names of parents a generation further back and so on. You need to have an understanding too of place and how this geography fits in with your family history. If you know your ancestor lived in a certain church parish in Ireland, you will need to find out when these records begin – some start later than others. Always check the records in their original form if you can – they will give you a good idea where and when an event happened and provide evidence of spelling of family surnames and townlands.