For as long as the world spins round, family trees are going to be popular. Whether you are young or old, there is a certain charm about finding out about your past and ultimately documenting it.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. While it might be easy enough to find information about the last couple of generations, anything beneath that can be challenging.
It’s for this reason that today’s post has been put together. If you have reached a brick wall in your people search for your family tree, let’s take a look at four key sources of information that can help you along your way.
Modern people search services
Let’s start with one of the more recent methods; people search engines. This isn’t a fancy way of describing Facebook or anything other social media network, it instead refers to a search engine that digs through historic records to try and pair you with information about the person you are looking for.
They are somewhat revolutionary when it comes to family trees and due to the fact they hunt through criminal records and other difficult-to-obtain documents, they can unearth a lot of missed information.
We touched on it previously, so it stands to reason that we should give a brief mention to social networks. Again, this has made the job of the family historian much easier and a simple search on Facebook can probably reveal most of your family.
At the same time, it goes without saying that the person has to be alive for you to take advantage of this data source. As such, it’s not perfect, but it can be a quick win if you are looking for recent information.
It’s understood that most of the world has kept census records for the last three centuries. Ultimately, that is a lot of generations to go through.
If you are going to trawl through census records, it is a time-consuming task and again, some of the people search engines will tap into this as a data source so you might be advised to turn to them first. Nevertheless, if you are the do-it-yourself type of person, census records will contain information about your long, lost relatives – even if it might be hidden amongst generations of data.
For a long period of time churches kept their own records, and this is obviously significant. The fact that marriages, confirmations and burials are conducted at church means that records of all of life’s important events are held there. Ultimately, there is a wealth of data waiting to be explored.
Of course, whether or not your church holds said data remains to be seen. Unfortunately, churches come and go over the years, and many which were standing fifty years ago might not be in operation now. Nevertheless, it is an avenue worth exploring and it can be easier to look through this data rather than rely on census data.