Meaning of Genealogy

Genealogy is defined in the dictionary as the study of family histories. Genealogical researchers begin by collecting records and documents for their ancestors. This step is the easy part of genealogy. However, many researchers never get beyond this initial step.

As I began compiling the information for my ancestors, I realized that family histories are more than piles of documents and charts with names and dates. Our family histories are made up of the stories that can be found in the oral histories, the pictures and the documents. I found that I became more excited about my ancestors as I discovered that the pattern in the information. I also discovered that my initial view of my family changed quickly as the information and stories flowed from the documents. As more information was found, my family history gave me a greater closeness to my ancestors and their lives.

Identifying who, what and where that were represented in family photo albums will pass along the memories that my ancestors tried to capture in these photos. Interpreting the facts shown on the various documents and explaining their relationship in the lives of my ancestors brought my pages to life. This was important because only a few people enjoy doing the research but most family members enjoy reading the stories. Our task is to find a way to save our family history in a format that can be enjoyed by most family members.

You may find it hard to believe that your family history is important to save. You should consider that all of our immigrant ancestors contributed to America’s history and their stories should be saved for our grandchildren. The farmers and the factory workers contributed their efforts to the growth of America alongside all of the names listed in the history books. Our family histories should give clues of their roles and this will help us understand our roots.

Start now to write a family history. Do not procrastinate. I also find it difficult to write. However, I got past my fear of writing by compiling the information into summaries for each ancestor that I was researching.

Don’t be afraid to begin. Concentrate on finding one story and then another by doing the research. Finding the small pieces will make the task easier and will be fun. Eventually, the small pieces will begin to fit together like a jig-saw puzzle and as the pieces are added the overall story that is your family history will eventually appear.

A family history can be a great treasure to you, your family and future generations. It can help us understand our heritage both here in the U.S. and where our ancestors came from. It lets us gain knowledge and appreciation for our ancestors and their lives.

Do it now!

 

 

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Naturalization of Our Ancestors: establishing our roots in America

The naturalization of our ancestors establishes our family roots in America. They were part of the wave of emigration that left Europe with the hope of finding work and a better life. They saw immigration to America as their last chance.

Our lives would be much different if they did not endure the challenges of immigration to America. Do not underestimate their contributions. They may have left us some material wealth, but the most important contribution they left is their family and their role in the factories and farms of the United States. Their lives were building blocks in the growth of their new country. Remember that they made many sacrifices for us and their daily work helped build the United States.

I believe that our role should be to leave something that will help our children remember them.

Research and record the details of their journey to arrival and naturalization. It is an important part of your heritage. Capture the memories by writing your family history. If not you, who will do it?

Deadline to order FHL Film Extended

Familysearch.org has extended the deadline, for the discontinuation of the distribution of microfilm has been extended one week to September 7. Click here for more details:

Helpful Books on Polish Genealogy

Books on Polish genealogy are another important element in developing your genealogy research skills. Polish Roots. Second Edition 2nd Edition by Rosemary Chorzempa and Going Home: A Guide to Polish American Family History Research by Jonathan Shea have proven to be reference volumes explaining many of the Polish documents that are available.  Sto Lat: A Modern Guide To Polish Genealogy by Cecile Wendt Jensen and my book Polish Genealogy: Four Steps to Success present plans to logically do Polish genealogically research.

The challenges of translating your Polish records can be reduced by using the glossaries found in Jonathan Shea’s book Going Home: A Guide to Polish American Family History Research and the series he wrote with William Hoffman In Their Words – Polish, Latin, and Russian. If you find Polish records in the narrative format, you will find A Translation Guide to 19th Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents by Judith R. Frazin is an excellent user-friendly and practical resource.

Go to my page Helpful Book on Polish Genealogy for more details and a list of more books.

Is Roots Magic winning the marketing battle with Family Tree Maker?

Roots Magic just released their version 7.5 which interfaces with Ancestry.com for the first time. Now RM users can see hints for Ancestry.com records along with the hints they are enjoying from Familysearch.org, MyHeritage, and Findmypast. The new interface also includes our family trees we have on Ancestry which RM is calling Treeshare.  RM’s Treeshare is not the same as FTM’s Tree-syncing but does allow users to connect to Ancestry family trees, compare differences and changes between Ancestry and RM trees, and then select what information to migrate between the two versions. FTM Treesync allows Ancestry and FTM trees to be the same. RM Teeshare allows you to have additional people in your RM tree and be different from your Ancestry tree. I like the additional control RM gives me, but it does take more time to make the comparison.

My experience with FTM14.1 which is currently available is satisfactory, but interfaces with only Ancestry.com.  Mackiev has promised their new version FTM2017 will improve the syncing function and add an interface with Familyserch.org. However, the release of FTM2017 has been delayed and is about six months overdue.

With the release of RM7.5, Roots Magic seems to have moved ahead of FTM, but what will happen when FTM2017 is finally released? How much market share will FTM lose as now that RM7.5 has been released and the release of FTM2017 continues to be delayed? How much better will FTM2017 need to be to win back the market share they lost since the announcement by Ancestry to discontinue FTM?

I have been a long-time FTM user but my loyalty is being tested, and I am on the edge of the fence with my decision. FTM14.1 does not interface with Ancestry as well as older versions, but I think this is due to Ancestry not owning FTM and not due to the software. Will the interface between Ancestry and FTM2017 remain the same, go back to the old level, or get better. Only the release of FTM2017 will give us the answer.

AncestryDNA launches Genetic Communities

On March 27, AncestryDNA introduced Genetic Communities. It is very new, but I believe it will prove to be a useful tool to unlock some of the mysteries that we encounter in our genealogical research.

Using the DNA results from the users in Ancestry’s database, DNA profiles were identified for over 300 geographical areas. (Note AncestryDNA used only results from users who agreed to participate in the test). Individual results were then compared to the DNA profiles to determine if results fit any of the profiles.

My results matched one profile although I expected at least two. The Genetic Communities feature is new and is still being refined, so I hope that the second area that I was expecting will show up in my results later.

This tool may confirm the geographical areas that we have identified as our origins, but it may also point to a new area especially if we have mysteries or brick walls.

The Genetic Communities is a tool that should be considered when deciding which DNA testing company to select. If I need to order another DNA test, I will probably order from AncestryDNA. Another factor in my decision is the ability to transfer the raw data from an AncestryDNA test to FamilytreeDNA. In the past, I have used the tools of both companies to resolve one of my brick walls, and the Genetic Communities should make this task easier.

PUSH/PULL factors in Immigration

In the last half of the 1800s and the early years of the 1900s, the forces motivating immigrants to leave their homeland can be divided into “Push” factors and “Pull” factors.

Push factors were forces that drove them out of their home countries such as:

  • poverty
  • a shortage of land
  • the military draft
  • political or cultural repression
  • religious discrimination

Pull factors were:

  • the promise of jobs in the new lands
  • cheap farmland in America and Canada
  • the magnetic pull of “chain “