Researching your familia is possible...
#1 WHAT DO I REALLY WANT TO KNOW?- Before you start you should really think about what it is that you want to find out. The reality is most of us want to know as much as we can, but that can get overwhelming to the point you may get frustrated and walk away. We don’t want you to walk away! First, what is it you want to know more about? For example for me it was very important to know more about my paternal grandmother who had passed when my father was 10 years old. Someone I am helping her focus was to find out more or confirm a possible event that may have occurred that involved her ancestor, did it happen and if it did why? Another client wanted to know more about their father and his story? So you get the picture, we all have different things we really want to know more about, what is yours? Whatever keeps coming to your mind! That is what you want to focus on!
#3 TALK TO FAMILY- Then if you are able to talk to family members, especially grandparents, that can really enrich your research. Make sure to document, either by taking notes or if they are comfortable you could record them.
#4 WHAT OTHER INFO I NEED?- What type of information do I need to start? It is good to have names, dates and places of birth, death, and marriage. You don’t have all those dates, that is ok! But the more you have the better but only having some does not prevent you being able to find information.
#5 WHAT DO I DO NOW?- Now what do you do with this information? Try to research to see if you have a local Genealogy Society, Historical Societies and your local library, these are some of the most important and valuable resources to get you started. Online resources are growing more and more everyday, you can use one of the platforms such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org where they pull in information from a variety of online resources. FamilySearch Wiki pages are a valuable source that can give you information on Collections available for the places you are researching, https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page. Genealogical groups in Facebook are great too, these groups are full of people that can be helpful and love to share what they have found.
WORD OF CAUTION and TIPS- Just some warnings especially when you use some of the platforms with trees that already have been created by other people. Unless someone has actual documentation attached that you are able to look at and read I would be very cautious and wise whether to attach it to your own tree. That brings me to the next, read the documents!. It is very important in our case most of the documents will be in Spanish and if that is not your first language, don’t let that discourage you! Learn some key words, such as for date, death, birth, legitimate, natural, paternal, maternal, marriage etc… Last but not least it is very important to do historical research on the place and time your ancestor lived in, historical context can give you a great insight into the lives of your ancestors, and the events that may have been happening around them that affected how they lived their lives and how it may have influenced decisions they made. Historical research is a gold mine of information especially for those ancestors that you may not have documents for.
Genealogical research is fascinating especially as you start to see the lives of your ancestors unfolding in front of you. It is a gift that not only you give to yourself but is a gift that keeps paying forward for generations to come. It is time to start the search for your gente...Ok, take a deep breath and come on get started!
Lookout for Next Blog, more about the Keywords you should learn when you read the documents...