Family history is really exciting for those who do it. Those who have not been bitten by the bug may feel overwhelmed or disinterested. I love helping individuals begin their family history and always maintain that you can research like a professional even if you are not one. Simply learn to do it right the first time and fix it right for future generations, and you will have some great (fun and interesting) training material for them when they are ready to begin.
Training is imperative and every person must begin with the first four generations. You simply cannot learn what is needed if you start your research where someone else left off. This week we start a series of discussions that will be of interest to the beginner and anyone who wants to leave a legacy for others to learn from.
A complete Four-Generation Pedigree Chart will include Birth, Marriage, and Death dates with geographic locations for each generation.
1st Generation = You and a spouse (if you are married)
2nd Generation = Your father and mother
3rd Generation = Your grandparents
4th Generation = Your great grandparents
You may already have some of this data or know who to ask for details. Once you have your pedigree penciled in, the fun begins.
Set a goal to create a full “Family Group Record” for each couple on the chart, including each child and their spouse. There are eight family groups in four generations. The only exception is when one ancestor has married multiple times or had children with more than one person. In this case you simply fill out a family group record for each family unit of that particular ancestor (or yourself, if it applies).
Just like learning to drive a car, one must learn to build a pedigree. It starts with observing the terrain, studying the records that mention your ancestors; practice identifying them in two or more sources, then have an expert look at it. Having an expert’s opinion really assists in the feeling of accomplishment, too.
Think about it…
A young person does not automatically get a driver’s license when they turn 16. First, they have watched out the window of a car riding along with an experienced driver. Second, they had to study and take a test, then they practiced for many miles before they actually drove with a licensed expert in order to receive their license.
Celebrate your four-generations. First, gather what you have observed from family. Second, identify two or more records that identify each person on your pedigree. Then, collect data on everyone in the family group for each family unit on the pedigree. And finally, have an expert look it over. They may have some great suggestions for you, too.
You will be surprised at how much you will learn about your family and the history surrounding them. Get busy and let me know what you discover.
Holly T. Hansen is the owner of Family History Expos and Celebrating Family History. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.