Monday, January 4, 2010

Methods Used in Genealogy Research

I didn't know how hard it would be to select a first post. I will be adding new kinds of information each day, so I hope you'll check out this blog each day to see what you may find.
What is genealogy? Is it just a hobby or is it a field of historical and scientific research? The word genealogy comes from the Latin and Greek words meaning the study of generations. The colleges that offer genealogy courses offer them through their history departments, so we begin to see genealogy as a study of past generations. There is always a prescribed way of studying a subject and we use the same method as any scientific researcher. We define the problem, decide what steps to take to find the answer (experiment), try these steps to see if they lead to the answer and if so begin again with a new problem. If we don't find the answer in this way we look for additional steps to take. The fact we are doing historical research using scientific methods doesn't mean we can't enjoy what we are doing; it just makes us realize it is an important undertaking.

But what about the hobby part? While a few people are professional genealogists able to have a career in this field, most people view their research as a hobby. Like any other hobby, if you want to be successful, you must spend a lot of time and some money. Many people expect to have their family traced in a few months and are surprised to find it takes many years. Just as it takes years to practice to learn a sport or musical instrument, it may take years to research or trace your family. Just as you expect to buy sports equipment, musical instruments or items for your collections in other hobbies, it is necessary to purchase copies of records and documents, and spend time and money visiting courthouses, churches and other places records may be kept. Many sites on the internet are also available on the internet, some free and others require a fee.

I hope you will enjoy learning new things with me.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the geneabloggers! I look forward to reading your blog:-)